Wiktionary:Tea room

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Tea house party in Japan (not tea ceremony)-J. M. W. Silver.jpg

A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words. The Tea Room is named to accompany the Beer parlour.

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Oldest tagged RFTs
  • <DynamicPageList> category=Tea room namespace=0 count=200 mode=none order=ascending </DynamicPageList>

May 2011[កែប្រែ]

pay off[កែប្រែ]

"I finally paid off my new car." Is this sense includeable at pay off or is it sum of parts? ---> Tooironic 13:18, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Inclusible AFAICT; I've added it; thanks.​—msh210 (talk) 20:13, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

hapax and nonce word[កែប្រែ]

Hi. An IP has just put the Spanish form of hapax as a translation in nonce word. Would this be correct? What is the relationship between these two concepts? How far do they overlap? -- ALGRIF talk 11:37, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

A hapax can be a regular, even common, word that is used only once in a work (such as the Bible), or only once in the surviving body of writing (such as Mayan glyphs), or it can be the result of a misspelling or typo, or it can be a nonce word. Hapax is the hypernym, nonce word is a hyponym. —Stephen (Talk) 22:20, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with your explanation of "hapax", but I disagree with your statement that every nonce-word is a hapax. The OED defines it as “[one of a number of terms coined by James Murray especially for use in the N.E.D.] a word apparently used only ‘for the nonce’, i.e. on one specific occasion or in one specific text or writer's works”, and one imagines that they would know. (And I'm pretty sure I've seen the term used even more broadly, to describe a word each of whose uses has been an independent coinage.) —RuakhTALK 23:19, 4 May 2011 (UTC)


There's a comment at WT:FEED#scoring saying that our 'noun' definitions are in fact verb form definitions. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:34, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

The comment seems to be correct. The noun definitions are repetitious of the score#Verb lemma definitions. But we should probably RfV (RfD ?) the "noun" and "adjective". DCDuring TALK 21:43, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
The definitions could possibly be reworded to be clearly nouns. If we can find usage such as "the scoring of the game", "the scoring of the rocks", "much/little scoring", "many/few scorings", etc. we would be justified in including the senses as nouns. DCDuring TALK 09:45, 5 May 2011 (UTC)


I have added two senses to permit#Verb. They have pronunciation like that of the noun, not like that of the other verb senses. Should they have a separate pronunciation section? A separate etymology section (together with the noun)? DCDuring TALK 20:22, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

against: expressing odds[កែប្រែ]

It seems to me that phrases like "ten to one against" are not covered in against. That meaning (let alone the word order) is not obvious unless you are familiar with this way of expressing odds. Thoughts? Rl 07:28, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

One question raised by your example is whether "against" is a preposition (probably covered by one of the senses given or possibly requiring rewording) or an adverb, which does not appear in the entry.
We can look at the usage you point out at least two ways, one justifying inclusion of an adverb section, the other not. If someone says "The odds were ten to one against", the proposition that the odds were "against" is usually obvious. In writing it would already have been mentioned. In speech it might have been mentioned or might have been pointed to in some way. If all usage of "against" has such an object understood in context, then we need not have an adverb section. I have not found another dictionary that shows this as an adverb.
In any event, the wordings of our definitions of the preposition does not seem to include a sense of "opposed to", which arguably includes the betting sense. I have added such a sense with two usage examples. Is that adequate? DCDuring TALK 10:10, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't see the need for an adverb section, either. The more specific meaning that I was (rather vaguely) referring to is described in w:Odds (search for the word "against"). I think that is what you are discussing above, just from a different perspective. To me, it seems that "against" in this context is used in an idiomatic, formal way to express math (i.e. odds). "Against" is sometimes omitted, but implied (unless it's "odds on" rather than "odds against"). I don't think that is really SoP, but maybe the information belongs somewhere else? Maybe link to the Wikipedia article? Rl 12:11, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't think "on" is an antonym for "against". "For" is closer, but is not a real antonym, not being commonly used in the same way grammatically. We have odds-on and odds on as entries. DCDuring TALK 12:55, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree, "on" is not an antonym for "against" in this context. As the Wikipedia article says, "an event with m to n 'odds against' would have probability n/(m + n), while an event with m to n 'odds on' would have probability m/(m + n)." "On" indicates that the odds are better than even (as odds-on mentions), while "against" indicates that the odds are worse than even (in bookmaking, for instance, this is the usual case and implied if the word "against" is omitted). The existence of the odds-on article seems to suggest that we should have odds-against. Anyhow, if you think the current articles are sufficient, I won't argue. Thanks! Rl 13:39, 5 May 2011 (UTC)


I'm trying to find a word that represents the definition: the left over materials from an act of creation. Generally speaking, people use the word detritus, but it's always irked me because detritus refers to the left over materials from destructive acts and it always seemed misleading to me. I can't use the word with good conscience even though American Heritage dictionary claims: 1. Loose fragments or grains that have been worn away from rock. 2. a. Disintegrated or eroded matter: the detritus of past civilizations. b. Accumulated material; debris: "Poems, engravings, press releaseshe eagerly scrutinizes the detritus of fame" (Carlin Romano).

Their example use seems counter or at least diluting of the original definition and use, especially when you take into account the original latin source.

Anyone know of a word? I've been using entritus in my head and around the house, but I also feel uncomfortable doing so knowing there might actually be a word out there that works (entritus is just entropy and tritus merged together). Example use: 'The xxxx of making bread this morning had left the baker's arms white [with flour].' Or, 'The carpenter burned the xxxx left over from his latest chair.'ទំព័រគំរូ:unsigned


According to Wikipedia, there are two possible definitions: one is medical, the other environmental. We have the former, but not the latter. I would write the latter but it's too technical for me. ---> Tooironic 00:33, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

  • I've expanded it a bit. SemperBlotto 07:21, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

five pillars[កែប្រែ]

The five basic ritual or devotional duties of Sunni Islam, namely: a declaration of faith in God (shahada); five daily prayers (salat); fasting (saum); almsgiving (zakat); and pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj).

This looks encyclopedic to me. Also, is it not a proper noun in this sense? Shouldn't each of the five pillars be a meronym. Why are there all the transliterations? DCDuring TALK 16:23, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Small point, they're not actually translations, but English words derived from Arabic. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:29, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

at the earliest[កែប្រែ]


How should we present this kind of usage of the superlative. Generally almost any superlative of an adjective can be fused with an understood head. Other dictionaries sometime present such terms as if they were real nouns (See latest#Noun).

Are "at the earliest"/"at the latest" includable idioms or merely examples of such fused-head construction? DCDuring TALK 17:29, 7 May 2011 (UTC)


Rhyming slang for "drunk". Claims to be an adjective. No usage example. How is this used? DCDuring TALK 17:48, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Omitting the apostrophe, "he|she was elephants" gives 4 hits, one just a mention. — Pingkudimmi 01:06, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
A couple of those hits are for "elephants drunk", which might be a mishearing of "elephant's trunk", for which "elephant's"/"elephants" is the purported shortening. Otherwise "elephants" would seem to be an adverb intensifying "drunk". DCDuring TALK 03:09, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Cockney rhyming slang, rather than "mishearing", not heard of this one before, mind you, but I'm from the North. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:26, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

look forward & look forward to[កែប្រែ]

Is the "to" compulsory in "look forward to"? I always thought it was, but then I realised, "I look forward meeting you" is correct (the infinitive can be bare). On the other hand, "Are you looking forward?" is not right. ---> Tooironic 00:27, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't think "look forward [present participle]" is a standard English equivalent of "look forward to [bare infinitive]". I don't find it at COCA. The only instances of "look forward [bare infinitive]" at COCA are from transcriptions of speech, which often faithfully record speech errors. IOW, I think the "to" is obligatory. DCDuring TALK 02:18, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, looking at hits on Google Books it would appear that, whilst "look forward meeting you" does have some uses, it is not actually standard. In that case, shouldn't we get rid of look forward, or at least provide a redirect of sorts? ---> Tooironic 04:03, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Some dictionaries have "look forward"; others have "look forward to". COCA shows mostly look forward followed by "to", but also prepositional phrases (mostly mere adjuncts) headed by various prepositions. If we only are to have one of these, it would be "look forward", which seems to be the "expect" sense of look#Verb. DCDuring TALK 04:49, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Even "look forward to [bare infinitive]" sounds weird to me — I would say "look forward to [gerund phrase]". (For example, I would say "I look forward to meeting you", not ?"I look forward to meet you".) Is that just me? —RuakhTALK 12:24, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes. I erred above (editing too close to bedtime). DCDuring TALK 12:29, 8 May 2011 (UTC)


the act of creating a visual pattern?

(I'm new member, don't know correct procedure for submitting a word for discussion?) Any help would be appreciated. ទំព័រគំរូ:unsigned

The single best way to work on a new word (or new use as a different part of speech or a new sense) is to find some citations for it. (See WT:CFI#Attestation.) That gives Wiktionary a few advantages:

  1. the entry or sense is less likely to be deleted speedily, even if poorly formatted.
  2. the entry or sense is less likely to be submitted to a more formal RfV or RfD which can lead to deletion.
  3. it is easier to define the word if there is evidence as to how it is used.

If you don't want to make an entry, you can add the citations to the associated citations page.

You can also enter the word in WT:REE (a shortcut to Requested entries: English).

If you have a lot of patience, you can start a discussion at the talk page for the proposed or existing entry. The Tea Room gets more attention. DCDuring TALK 16:34, 10 May 2011 (UTC)


Called an adverb. It is eye-dialect for reduced "kinds of". I don't see how this can be construed as an adverb. It is more like an adjective or determiner. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 10 May 2011 (UTC)


Same for "sorts of". DCDuring TALK 23:12, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't think either one is a constituent. I'm not sure there's any sensible way to assign them to a part of speech. One option, no worse than any other, might be "noun": "of" is a preposition construing the (optional) complement of "kinds" or "sorts", so "kindsa" and "sortsa" are variants of "kinds" and "sorts" that simply construe their (obligatory) complements directly. —RuakhTALK 23:57, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. I'll make it so, but I am open to reconsideration of the question if anyone has other ideas. DCDuring TALK 00:16, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
If nouns, perhaps they should be considered plural forms? — Pingkudimmi 06:05, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
That would mean adding a noun section for the singulars kinda and sorta. DCDuring TALK 10:38, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. Surely the same logic applies to usages that are similar to the problematic ones of 'kindsa' and 'sortsa.' E.g., "What Kinda Boat Ya Got?" (Plural: What kindsa boats ya got?) — Pingkudimmi 12:13, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
This seems to be going down a path that will probably bring us to a reductio ad absurdum about declaring these to be nouns. Should they instead by contractions? sorta#Adverb and kinda#Adverb don't have the same problem as they seem to be constituents, though they too are contractions. DCDuring TALK 13:18, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
It certainly seems natural (to me, for one) to think of them as contractions. That's how I read them and would use them. If they behave like nouns (or adverbs) sometimes, that reflects how the expanded term/phrase behaves. Does CGEL have a comment on the matter? — Pingkudimmi 14:42, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
CGEL has no entry in its lexical index for kinda and sorta, let alone "kindsa and sortsa. They don't waste a lot of ink on lexical categorization so far out on the margins. They do mention that kind of, sort of, and as good as "are best regarded as having been reanalysed as adverbs modifying the following verb or adjective."
Contraction is a bit like abbreviation of initialism; it doesn't tell you how the word functions, just how it was formed. That said, in some circumstances these terms can't be replaced with another term like adverb or preposition, which is why I favor limiting the use of abbreviation, initialism and contraction as level 3 headers, but not deprecating them entirely. In this case, yes, contraction please. --Mglovesfun (talk) 14:47, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
For a number of our entries, some of which are in Category:English non-constituents, we have no good syntactic category because there is none, by the very definition of syntactic category. For multi-word entries of this type, we use the L3 header "phrase", though phrases too are supposed to be constituents. For single-word entries of this type "contraction" could include all of them by the very fact of their not being constituents, at least under an expansive sense of "contraction". Most normal folks' definitions of "contraction" does not include words that don't have apostrophes. "Phrase" and "contraction" are good L3 headers from a user perspective because they are less misleading than a true syntactic category header. DCDuring TALK 15:42, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
That is the logic behind my statement, and also why I replace ===Phrase=== on occasion when it is reasonable to do so. --Mglovesfun (talk) 15:36, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

defaecate’ and others: still in use?[កែប្រែ]

¶ A while back, I noticed that user:SemperBlotto creäted this entry, which inspired me to look for alternative spellings related to defecate: [១] [២] [៣] [៤]. I included both ‘defaecate’ and ‘defæcate’ as alternative forms listed here, but I think those forms should be tagged with some sort of qualifiers. ¶ I know ‘faeces’ is a word still used throughout the United Kingdom and else‐where, but is defaecate still used today? --Pilcrow 19:32, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

As I stated on my talk page - though not backed up with any 'evidence' - ligatures aren't used in contemporary, 20th or 21st century English so they should have some sort of tag. Defaecate doesn't look like standard contemporary English to me either. Of course I don't think they should be exclude - far from it, in fact - but I do favor some sort of context label for the reason I stated in my first sentence. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:34, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

are you deaf[កែប្រែ]

This doesn't seem accurate to me... or at least, there must be another possible meaning for this. Also, we need to add that "literally" tag. ---> Tooironic 04:44, 13 May 2011 (UTC)


I'd like to allow recreation of this particular term/symbol/whatever. It's meaning has now gone beyond the usual definition of "one dollar"; you can see on the Wikipedia article for it that it is also included in a few programming languages as a parameter. TeleComNasSprVen 04:59, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Computer languages don't meet CFI. What are you proposing, Translingual? In regular expressions I think it'd be sum of parts; $ + 1. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:33, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually, come to think of it, why do we even have entries like colspan or cellpadding which is clearly related to computer language or programming? Surely there must be some previous discussion about the inclusion of such so-called "languages". TeleComNasSprVen 19:39, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Quite a few of the Category:HTML have been tagged with rfv but never listed... since 2007! Mglovesfun (talk) 23:36, 13 May 2011 (UTC)


Missing definitions, for example w:Submission (combat sport). Our two definitions seems correct and quite broad, but I think we can break them down a bit by using the definitions as submit#Verb. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:05, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

[[submit]] needs more than the definitions we have. MWOnline has 4 transitive (sub)senses and 3 intransitive (sub)senses. DCDuring TALK 15:21, 13 May 2011 (UTC)


Why is this in Category:Death, as opposed to Category:Medicine? DCDuring TALK 20:31, 13 May 2011 (UTC)


Why are there (ɹ)'s in the pronunciation? Is it a mistake? --Vahag 22:12, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

See w:Linking and intrusive R#Intrusive R. I don't know that I'd call it a "mistake", but I also don't know that I'd call it a good idea . . . —RuakhTALK 22:30, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I'd call it a mistake to include intrusive Rs in dictionary pronunciations, especially those at the end of a word. I've removed them. —Angr 09:11, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, definitely a mistake. Thanks for removing them. Dbfirs 20:37, 11 June 2011 (UTC)


From Category:Lexicons and Category:All lexicons and their sub categories, I surmise, that lexicon is used in a sense meaning something like a "lexical unit". Could we have this sense in lexicon, if it is appropriate?--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 18:46, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

I see why you would surmise that, but no. The idea is that (for example) Category:Archaic itself is a lexicon — a lexicon of English archaisms — rather than that the entries it contains are lexicons. I'm not sure if this is a weakness in the MediaWiki category system (the inability to distinguish between the concepts "category X is a member of category Y" and "category X is a subcategory of category Y") or a weakness of our use of it (that we try to use the concept "category X is a member of category Y" despite MediaWiki's lack of support for it), but either way, I think it's a problem. But it's hardly the biggest problem with our category system, so I don't let it keep me up at night. :-P   —RuakhTALK 19:00, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
OK, that makes sense. Thanks. I guess if I mentally say "A lexicon of Danish terms with a colloquial sense", then Category:Danish colloquialisms will annoy me a little less.--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 19:30, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Category:English lexicons already has a short and appropriate description that clarifies that the subcategories, not the entries, are lexicons. --Daniel. 08:39, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
That description may seem to clarify things, but I for one didn't get it (still don't really). But I'm probably biased by my dislike for those categories.--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 09:39, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

mop the floor with someone[កែប្រែ]

This ought to be just "mop the floor" as one may "mop the floor" with a something just as well as with a someone. ទំព័រគំរូ:unsigned

I've never heard of the defined sense being applied to things rather than persons or teams/groups of persons. I guess that could include fictional human-like beings. Could "The Earhart car mop the floor with the Jimmy Johnson car"? Or would "Team Earhart mop the floor with Team Johnson"? DCDuring TALK 01:55, 16 May 2011 (UTC)


How would we go about including the sense as in "contents insurance"? Should a separate sense be at contents? ---> Tooironic 09:15, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

But it is just sense 2 ("that which is contained"). That it depends on context is illustrated by the fact that it took me a few minutes to grasp what the phrase meant from your mentioning it out of context. It might make a good usage example, though. DCDuring TALK 11:47, 16 May 2011 (UTC)


Is this attestable lowercase and uppercase? Note that frenchify is a redirect. Can we cite both capitalizations? Mglovesfun (talk) 19:20, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Here are some results on Google‐books. The lower‐case variänt is much more common, though. --Pilcrow 22:47, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

"bún bò Huế"[កែប្រែ]

It's occurred to me that this might be a sum of parts, but I'd like a second opinion on whether or not it should be created. This is basically a dish comprised of bún bò + Huế (bún bò itself being a sum of parts, bún = noodle [soup] and bò = beef), which is a special type of soup originating from the city of Huế with the name of the city attached to the term to distinguish it from similar soups. But it's not to say that it is more important an entry or dish than, say, "bún bò + Ho Chi Minh City", but that it appears to be one of the most popular dishes, and you could argue that its popularity might warrant inclusion here. What do you say? TeleComNasSprVen 05:51, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

down to[កែប្រែ]

As a "compound preposition" meaning due to. I am not familiar with it in US English, though it is fairly readily intelligible. It's a little hard to find this usage among all the other occurrences of "down to". Is this used in the US? Was it used in the US before the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb"? DCDuring TALK 15:12, 17 May 2011 (UTC)


I've seen the word derp in the English language on the Internet and my humorous physics teacher (not to mention a table in the art class room). It might either be nonsensical or it can mean something stupid was done. Any opinions? --Lo Ximiendo 23:01, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Derp (and its companion word herp) usually refer to awkward or stupid-looking facial expressions[៥]. I haven't checked yet to see if it's attestable, but at least herp and derp probably are. — lexicógrafa | háblame — 23:28, 22 May 2011 (UTC)


The current revision of "Citations:Wiktionary" contains a number of citations.

I believe the first four of them (just the first four!) are enough for the entry Wiktionary to be attested according to the rules of WT:BRAND. (In fact, one of these citations is listed at Citations:Wikipedia too, presumably to attest "Wikipedia".) --Daniel. 01:01, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

The first and fourth cites in that revision do IMO count as good. In the second and third, the context that makes clear that Wiktionary's a source of a definition. Now, that doesn't imply it's a dictionary (math books have definitions, for example), so I'd like to say those are good w.r.t. BRAND, too, but I seek others' opinions. Note further that the second and third cites are of self-published books (possibly available only online??), the use of which as citations for RFV purposes I know some people object to.​—msh210 (talk) 20:22, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Singular or plural[កែប្រែ]

Jamesjiao and I had a bit of a discussion happening on my talkpage about whether or not this recent edit was appropriate or not. The controversy is whether or not the sentence should read "An individual...his or her" or "An individual...their"; and I believed the former to be grammatically correct whilst Jamesjiao believed in the latter. TeleComNasSprVen 05:20, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Both are correct. See w:Singular they. --Daniel. 05:32, 23 May 2011 (UTC)


my name is humphrey; it also means policeman from the old english

Doesn't look very Old English to me. Maybe it is; what does Humphrey say? --Mglovesfun (talk) 10:38, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

piss-poor, piss-elegance, piss-proud, etc[កែប្រែ]

Could these be categorised by the suffix piss- I wonder? ---> Tooironic 23:00, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

I think you mean prefix? :) I think these words are similar in structure to crystal-clear. The first part gives an intensifying meaning by noting something that is known to be particularly clear. "as clear as crystal" in other words. I think the words above might have originated in a similar way, but over time the word "piss" might have become a general intensifier even if it didn't make any sense. There are similar cases in Dutch too, like keihard (rock-hard), which gave rise to keigoed (rock-good) where "rock" is just used to mean "very". —CodeCat 23:15, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
But piss isn't a general intensifier. In piss-elegance its sense is something like "fake" or "superficial", and in piss-proud its sense is "urine"! —RuakhTALK 22:06, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

beyond reproach[កែប្រែ]

What does it mean? There are hits on OneLook. ---> Tooironic 00:37, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Something is beyond what can be reproached. Simple SoP to me.--Prosfilaes 03:31, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't know . . . "X is beyond reproach" means "X is blameless; there is nothing to reproach X for", but "X is beyond criticism" frequently means "X cannot be criticized even for the things X has done wrong" (perhaps because, for example, there is no one qualified to do the criticizing). Admittedly, there are other versions of this idiom, such as "above reproach", "beyond reproof", and "above reproof"; but I think a [[beyond reproach]] or a [[reproach#Usage notes]] might be useful anyway. —RuakhTALK 12:56, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Incidentally, we currently don't have a non-count sense of reproach in the sense of "criticism".​—msh210 (talk) 15:04, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Is there a word for...[កែប្រែ]

I apologize for this, but I'm at a loss for what search terms to use. Is there a specific word for the act of merging a phrase at a matching syllable to create a neologism (or a word for the result)? For instance, shortening "Velvet Elvis" into "Velvis" or "Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda" into "Lamorinda". Thanks! - Richfife 17:14, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I think that is called a blend. We have some examples of blends in Category:English blends. —CodeCat 17:24, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! - Richfife 23:55, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Also a portmanteau word. Ƿidsiþ 07:40, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Category:Spanish words with ze or zi[កែប្រែ]

Just came across this with two entries in it. I'm not sure what to do with it. Rename it? Fil it up? RFD it? --Mglovesfun (talk) 10:36, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Seems like a good idea and a good name to me. Fill it up! —RuakhTALK 16:35, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Normally we'd have something like Category:Spanish terms spelled with ze or zi, perhaps two different categories with a link between the two (namely, Category:Spanish terms spelled with ze and Category:Spanish terms spelled with zi). --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:39, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

ទំព័រគំរូ:bottom3 Nadando 17:10, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

I support the existence of Category:Spanish terms spelled with ze and Category:Spanish terms spelled with zi. --Daniel 20:08, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Just as a matter of curiosity, why are ze and zi so unusual in Spanish? —CodeCat 20:46, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Normally <z> and <c> are in alternation, with the latter being used before <e> and <i>. For example, the plural of luz (a light) is luces, and the verb empezar (to start) has forms such as empecé; and conversely, the verb convencer (to convince) has forms such as convenzo. —RuakhTALK 21:08, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Oh I see, it's like ç and c in Catalan! :) —CodeCat 22:06, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Yup! Though a closer comparison might be Catalan <g> and <j> (which alternation exists in Spanish as well, as in dirigir (to direct) ~ dirijo). I believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that Catalan <c> and <ç> are considered a single letter, such that *<çe> and *<çi> literally never occur, whereas in Spanish, <c> and <z> are considered separate letters, just with fairly regular alternation. —RuakhTALK 22:17, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
By the way, the similarity of Spanish <z> to Catalan <ç> is not coincidental: the cedilla originated in Spanish as a sort of partial <z> written under a <c>. Later Spanish switched to just using <z> both for etymological <z> and for etymological <ç> (except in some forms such as Barça that are really just borderline-Spanish), the latter being much more frequent. (I think etymological <z> only occurs in loanwords from Greek and English and such.) —RuakhTALK 22:28, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
In Catalan ç is called c trencada which means broken c, it's not considered a separate letter as far as I know, but just a way of writing c when it has the s-sound but is not followed by e or i. There is also c and qu for the k-sound and qu and qü for the kw-sound. And also three pairs j and g, g and gu, gu and gü for voiced sounds. I just didn't know z was pronounced as c in Spanish, I always read it as English z! —CodeCat 22:48, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

"compared to"[កែប្រែ]

What is it called when you use the past participle at the beginning of a sentence, e.g., in "Compared to A, B is blah blah."? What are the rules that govern it? Why can't we say, "Comparing to A..." or "Compare to A..."? ---> Tooironic 10:54, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Re: your third question: We can't say "comparing to A ..." or "compare to A ..." because originally "compared to A" was modifying "B": "B, [when] compared to A, is blah blah." Current usage is more flexible — Google finds examples such as "Cars and trucks are cheap compared to the US", where what's being compared to the U.S. is provided by the context (it's the Philippines, if you're curious) — but its form has stayed the same. —RuakhTALK 15:03, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that you could say "Comparing A to B, B is blah blah.", "Compare A to B. B is blah blah.", or "To compare A to B, B is blah blah.", though only "Compared to A, B is blah blah" seems adequate for a typical writing situation. Even it can be clarified by expanding it to "(When/If B is) [c]ompared to A, B is blah blah.". Each of the others seems like a shortening of one or more other possible canonical sentences.
I have no knowledge of a specific name that may have been given to the structure as a whole. DCDuring TALK 15:10, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it's called an w:Absolute construction, or maybe a w:Participial phrase. —CodeCat 16:42, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
"Compared to A" is not an absolute, as it modifies B, thus not being syntactically isolated from the rest of the sentence. An example of an absolute would be "A having been compared to B, we proceeded to consider C." The absolute contrasts grammatically with the nearly semantically identical "After we compared A to B, we considered C." DCDuring TALK 19:46, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Traditionally it would be a participial phrase. The CGEL would call it a non-finite clause functioning as a predicate adjunct, I think.--Brett 18:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Actually, the CGEL might admit compared into the preposition category based on sentences like Compared to the ideas of previous generations, there is a shift in the theory, where compared is not the predicate of the subject there. I give more evidence here.--Brett 19:02, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

category words?[កែប្រែ]

Hi everyone. What do you call words like "phenomenon", "situation", "state", "matter", "affair", etc.? I know they are kind of like abstract nouns but I was wondering if there was an established term for these ones in particular, something along the lines of "category words" or "words of conceptual category". Thanks. ---> Tooironic 06:39, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

We have Category:English abstract nouns since 2004, but it is apparently abandoned since then. It has merely 29 members.
If you are looking for words that name classes, Wikisaurus has plenty of them. You can simply try this search: [៦]. --Daniel 07:27, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
And Category:Concrete nouns, its counterpart. --Mglovesfun (talk) 10:29, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Which doesn't exist. --Daniel 10:04, 28 May 2011 (UTC)


Do we cover the sense as in, "With so many alternatives to Google, why should we use it?" I think it might be distinct from the meanings we currently cover. ---> Tooironic 04:31, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

I think it is an extension of sense 7. But Encarta, for example, treats it as a separate sense "because of". Encarta also has a sense "in light of", which may seem a better fit. This latter sense doesn't seem different in one views inference from facts as "causing" the conclusion, but perhaps it is different. Encarta and other dictionaries have 15-20 senses for with. Our entry closely corresponds to Webster 1913. DCDuring TALK 05:15, 29 May 2011 (UTC)


Isn't this is the past participle? ---> Tooironic 05:21, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

It is sometimes gradable and is used after forms of "become". It is used as a predicate as well, but that is less clear-cut. Also the sense is a bit different, but that is also less clear cut. DCDuring TALK 06:01, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Verb entry changed from "present particle of" to "past of". SemperBlotto 06:57, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Prohibited doesn't mean illegal as it doesn't refer solely to laws. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:20, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

adjectives which derive from famous people[កែប្រែ]

I'm trying to find a list of adjectives which derive from famous people. Strangely enough I'm not having much luck despite numerous Google searches. I'm talking about words like Freudian, Elizabethan, Shakespearean, Orwellian, platonic, etc. ---> Tooironic 10:47, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Nevermind, I found a really good resource for eponyms here [៧] ---> Tooironic 10:51, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

We have Category:English eponyms. Equinox 12:22, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

illness and illness[កែប្រែ]

Aren't these both countable and uncountable nouns? I mean you could say "This is a new story about mental illness." or "This kind of sickness is horrible." ---> Tooironic 12:00, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Do you mean both collocations "much illness" and "many illnesses" are common? Yes. The applicable senses are distinguishable and worth distinct definitions, IMHO. DCDuring TALK 17:01, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

outcome plural quotation[កែប្រែ]

Currently, sense 2 is:
"(education) The results or evidence of students' learning experience. Often used in place of desired outcomes.
The outcomes of this course are outlined in your syllabus."
My question is, doesn't this belong under "outcomes" (plural)?
Thanks --Person12 14:36, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so. The restriction to positive results is not limited to the education context. Finally, the supposed separate education sense seems not worth an entry line as it is merely a context-specific application of the general (positive-restricted) sense. If you could produce evidence that the term is only used in the plural in the education context, perhaps you could convince me (and others). DCDuring TALK 17:38, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
My question is really only about the plural vs the singular. Would the quotation work with the word in the singular (i.e. "The outcome of this course is outlined in your syllabus.")? If not, wouldn't it make more sense to move it to the plural listing?--Person12 03:24, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes it works. For me, it's not a plural only sense. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:15, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

definition of humor[កែប្រែ]

The first definition of humor is "Something funny, e.g. a joke, satire, or parody." This seems completely wrong to me. For example, to me, it's wrong to say "That's humor" to mean "That's a joke." It seems that this should be quality of being funny, not something that is funny. Can others confirm my understanding of this word? Chimodori 23:28, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I agree, Chimodori. Sense 1 sounds quite clumsy to me too. It's more of a quality.--Person12 03:33, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
(The quotation, "He treated the sensitive subject with enough humor that no one was offended" is a bit off the mark, too. It suggests that the more humor one applies to a sensitive subject the less offended people are likely to be, when it's really a question of quality & application of the humor - when it comes to sensitive subjects & likelihood of offending people - rather than quantity.)--Person12 03:45, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I too agree, I've never heard someone say "that joke is a humor"! Mglovesfun (talk) 12:14, 30 May 2011 (UTC)


We have three biblical senses; these just seems to be specific examples of covenants rather than definitions of a covenant. I also wonder whether they should be at Covenant, and as proper nouns you could probably justify them as entries. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:13, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

I think those are usually called "the covenant" (which one is surmised from context). They're not The Covenant and aren't usually capitalized, in my limited experience. Are there any neutral third part sources which suggest that it should go either way? Banaticus 22:48, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the use of just "the covenant" for any of those; are they Christian-only? The third one certainly must be, and I'm inclined to assume the second one is as well. Also, the tag (Biblical) seems wrong, unless "the covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to them? —RuakhTALK 23:02, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
The word appears numerous times in KJV. It looks like it means nothing more than "binding agreement," of which, per MG, there are more than one. — Pingkudimmi 07:29, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Gonna take this to RFD but leave this discussion open (no conflict in my opinion). --Mglovesfun (talk) 14:02, 2 June 2011 (UTC)


The CFI stuff is wiki jargon. we're supposed to be writing for a general audience. Could someone rephrase the examples to be about rain and going on a picnic, or something generic like that? Equinox 18:25, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

I think I've fixed it very nicely. See what you think.​—msh210 (talk) 16:18, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I've added an example that doesn't use P and Q. Feel free to change it to a better one. SemperBlotto 07:36, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

as much as[កែប្រែ]

Should we be covering this? It doesn't seem intuitive to me. Two meanings I can think of off the top of my head:

a) As much as I agree with this proposal, I'm not willing to support it.
b) Consumer goods have increased as much as 3 per cent this year.

---> Tooironic 09:58, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

I think (b) is sum-of-parts: "As many as ten thousand Americans visit it each year, coming from as far away as Kansas." (It may or may not be worth including anyway.) (a) does seem idiomatic, though; its meaning there seems to be "despite how much". —RuakhTALK 13:46, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
No, it means "considering how much" or "with how much", not "despite how much", with the "despite" implied by the context. And "considering how much" as the meaning of as much as makes it SOP: it's like other as [adjective] as uses, as in As tall as he is, he won't be to walk through that doorway or As short as he is, he still won't be able to walk through that door way.​—msh210 (talk) 16:16, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Most OneLook references don't cover "as much as" at all. One idiom dictionary covers the senses Tooironic suggests. Cambridge Advanced Learner's has it meaning "almost" with a usage example "He as much as admitted that it was his fault.". DCDuring TALK 18:54, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I'd forgotten about that sense. That'd be inclusible AFAICT.​—msh210 (talk) 20:38, 31 May 2011 (UTC)


Somehow I don't think we're fully conveying this word's connotations - i.e. its common attribution to gay men. Are usage notes in order? ---> Tooironic 13:34, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

  • Good citations are probably a better starting point. Ƿidsiþ 07:36, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Isn't that just an association (possibly prejudiced?) rather than a genuine connotation of the word (or is there a common usage that I've not heard used?) Dbfirs 20:24, 11 June 2011 (UTC)


Is this plural real? I cannot find it in dictionaries. Google Books just turns up a lot of instances of Clostridium tetani, which doesn't count. Equinox 17:19, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

June 2011[កែប្រែ]

cohesion and coherence[កែប្រែ]

We are missing the linguistic meanings here. ---> Tooironic 07:14, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Added. Feel free to improve. SemperBlotto 07:29, 1 June 2011 (UTC)


The book Sideways Stories From Wayside School has someone saying "Ron and I will stand everybody!" meaning play in opposition to them, or challenge them, or something, in a game. Does this exist (outside of that author's works)? Collocations I can think of offhand (without huge numbers of false positives) don't show up on Google with any frequency; e.g., ទំព័រគំរូ:google.​—msh210 (talk) 20:38, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

All right. I've added it to [[stand]] with {{rfdef}}. Please improve it if you can.​—msh210 (talk) 15:47, 14 June 2011 (UTC)


As far as I know, "there are a number of people" is considered less awkward than "there is a number of people", but this is definitely not intuitive to non-native speakers because "number" is countable. Should this be reflected in the usage notes? ---> Tooironic 01:13, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

This phenomenon is often called ទំព័រគំរូ:b.g.c.. It's not specific to the word number; the same happens with many such nouns. It's so pervasive with lot that one could well argue that a lot of is now basically a plural determiner. (The phenomenon is also not unique to English; twenty seconds on Google will find you such things as « Durant cette période, une grande nombre de Chinois vivaient à Washington » (French) and "Un gran número de sistemas instalados trabajan por fíat" (Spanish) and "מספר גדול של ארגונים אימצו פתרונות תוכנת קוד פתוח" (Hebrew).) I don't know if individual affected words really need a usage note, but if you think it would be helpful, I don't see a problem with it. (If you're going to do that, you might want to create a template for it, so it's easy to add the same usage note to other affected words.) —RuakhTALK 01:37, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Usage examples illustrating the alternates are helpful, possibly even more than usage notes. DCDuring TALK 01:19, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
No, I think semantic agreement is different. Here, we're looking a number transparency, discussed on p. 349 of the CGEL. They cite the main number transparent nouns as: lot, plenty, lots, bags, heaps, loads, oodles, stacks, remainder, rest, number, couple.--Brett 19:13, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


I find it hard to believe that Old English has misspellings, yet alone common ones. Surely Old English wasn't standardized enough to have anything close to a misspelling. --Mglovesfun (talk) 13:59, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Agree. You can only have a misspelling once a language's spelling is standardized. SemperBlotto 07:20, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    • p.s. Is there an equivalent to misspelling in Chinese / Japanese characters?
誤字--Brett 19:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
      • The word is certainly attested in the following passage from Beowulf: Nalæs hí hine læssan lácum teódan ðonne ða dydon ðe hine æt frumsceafte forð onsendon. It's an alternative form. The usual spelling is tēodon. Leasnam 19:42, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


This template is made to function as a context label and is categorized as a grammatical context label. I fail to see how onomatopoeia is grammatical rather than etymological and/or semantic. How do we categorize the etymological derivation from onomatopoeia? Do need (or already have) a different template for such derivation. DCDuring TALK 01:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

{{by ellipsis}}[កែប្រែ]

Similar to above, except it seems to be purely etymological. DCDuring TALK 01:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

{{of a person}}[កែប្រែ]

This seems not a grammatical context, but a semantic restriction. DCDuring TALK 01:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, so what? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:08, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Missing grammatical context[កែប្រែ]

We lack categorizing context-type grammatical templates and categories for senses of words that have restricted types of complements (eg, PPs headed by a specific preposition). DCDuring TALK 01:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


We now have a lot of senses like "A deity with bodily characteristics" and "An omniscient deity" and "A deity that can do anything, except contradicting his own laws..." and "A [deity that's a] moral judge of people". Et cetera. I really don't think that when the cited sources (for each of these has at least one citation, thanks to Daniel's hard work) included the word God, they meant — well, let me be specific. I really don't think that when Brenda Hicks-Wiggins wrote I thought if my life is hard not obeying God, then how sweet it could be if I obey him she meant by God "An authority or leader of people". I think she meant by God "{{non-gloss definition|A name}}" (specifically, "A deity's name"), and included in her mind was likely not only that that deity is an authority or leader of people but also that he's omniscient, perhaps, omnipotent, perhaps, etc.: so the cite is not really a good one for the sense it purports to support. But the point is that the word God means "A name" and not "A deity that's an authority", much as Robert means "ទំព័រគំរូ:given name" and not "That guy who lives down my street with the cats". I think we should collapse all the senses into one (except those currently at RFD for another reason). (Actually, I think supersense (as opposed to subsense) currently in the entry is worded very well: "A supreme deity, whose existence (or nonexistence) and other attributes are discussed and/or explained by various religions, doctrines, philosophical theories and beliefs of individuals, although with many disagreements amongst them.".) Thoughts?​—msh210 (talk) 04:12, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

The entry seems to miss the point of having a dictionary. Most dictionaries serve their users humbly by economizing on readers' attention and conveying the core meanings of a word, not overlapping specialized meanings from various contexts and from throwaway lines. This entry does not, not do the citations support the senses for the most part. I would be inclined to challenge almost every sense at RfV, though I can also think of a much simpler approach to correcting it, which I would support. DCDuring TALK 05:06, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

I, personally, would like to keep the subsenses as appropriate for a dictionary. There are ways to improve the entry, but I don't think deleting all the subsenses would be one of them. Here are a few thoughts:

  1. For hypothetical readers who believe that entries should be written with few words, without overlapping specialized senses, we already have the supersense.
  2. That belief is, however, technically incorrect in comparison with at least the entry of, which has 47 preposition senses, often overlapped.
  3. Deities are associated with a number of things. Hermes is defined as "(Greek mythology) The herald and messenger of the gods, and the god of roads, commerce, invention, cunning, and theft." These are important things. Failing to mention that "God" is the deity of Judaism is like failing to mention that Hermes is a deity of Greek mythology.
  4. With this argument in mind, a single but comprehensive definition would be this one, that may sound article-ish: "A supreme deity, whose existence (or nonexistence) and other attributes are discussed and/or explained by various religions, doctrines, philosophical theories and beliefs of individuals, although with many disagreements amongst them; those attributes include being the deity of Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, being a judge of people, being the creator of the universe, being the provider of things..."
  5. However, articles and entries are different in scope, wording and presentation. Compare w:God and God. In particular, the entry just mentioned once that God is a monotheistic deity, whereas the article has a whole huge section telling the "History of monotheism".
  6. In fact, if you have time, please see the revision of April 14 of the entry, which was the last one not edited by me. It has a strange choice of senses, which includes separating "An omnipotent being, creator of the universe (as in deism)." and "The single deity of various monotheistic religions." The current revision is certainly an improvement over it, at least by showing more clearly how the senses overlap.
  7. The senses do overlap, but they are used in different contexts by different people. God is the provider of things that come by chance. Therefore, the sentence "God gave her a pretty body." makes sense and implies that the speaker believes that the woman was born beautiful. The message is not that God is the deity of sex appeal, and not that God is a famous distributor of corpses. God is the provider. By contrast, "Poseidon gave her a pretty body." does not make sense at all.

--Daniel 09:03, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

  • I find this revision (14 April 2011) much better than current revision. Put differently, I support reverting the changes to "God" entry recently made by Daniel Carrero. What follows are various optional details that you can skip.

    The single most compelling definition seems to be this: "The single deity of various monotheistic religions"; this definition could be extended with ", often considered allmighty, all-knowing, and perfectly good", or the like. We can leave cataloguing of various properties that the single and only God is supposed to have to an encyclopedic work. Some more definitions can be justified by quotations, such as definition "An impersonal and universal spiritual presence or force", but I would like to see the reasoning that has lead from the quotations supporting the definition to the definition.

    However, I do not think that "God" means "A name". Neither do I think that "Peter" means "A name". This is likely to lead to a complex philosophical discussion, one that I do not have the energy to lead right now. The discussion would involve the following questions: What are the meanings of proper names, if anything? Are referents of proper names their meanings? Is "God" a description in disguise, or is it a term that designates its referent in such a way that not a single property of the referent follows necessarily from the designation? --Dan Polansky 10:06, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Agree the old revision is far better than the newer. Subsenses are not intended to cover every possible conversational context in which a word is used with essentially the same meaning. Senses like "A deity able to do something", "A deity that is somewhere" are no more useful than senses at purple for "A colour that can be used for paint", "A colour that can be the colour of a plum". Equinox 20:14, 2 July 2011 (UTC)


On a TV program today I heard someone say, "Thank God this garden is not overlooked." - what do you suppose this means? The garden has not been neglected? The garden is not surrounded by tall buildings? Or something else? ---> Tooironic 11:26, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Could it mean "shaded", "in shade"? I'd be surprised if it was used of the shade of trees, though. DCDuring TALK 14:07, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I would guess that it has to do with the garden's level of privacy and/or seclusion: something like "Thank G-d no one can see us here". —RuakhTALK 15:38, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I think so too. Sense 1 of overlook seems to pertain. — Pingkudimmi 15:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
A web search for "garden is not overlooked" overwhelmingly favors the seclusion/privacy interpretation. I didn't find any support for my suggestion, though I didn't actively search for any. In my defense: I am more gardener/amateur botanist than sunbather. DCDuring TALK 16:17, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Note also that there is not necessarily an implication of human agency being involved. A hill may be said to overlook a valley: this just means it commands a higher position, not that anyone is actually looking. — Pingkudimmi 16:24, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
But the point seems to be that there us the potential for humans (or other primate?) to cast glances or projectiles at what can be overlooked from the overlooking place. DCDuring TALK 17:15, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
On a third hand, it doesn't seem part of the definition of the word, unless we adopt the approach taken in God. (See WT:TR#God.) DCDuring TALK 17:21, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Etymology vandalisms[កែប្រែ]

Hello. I just edited big cheese and noticed it had a completely bogus "Chinook" etymology. (For an actual etym, just see http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-big1.htm and http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/64350.html for instance...)

The history page shows how this bogus etymology was added by User:Shii one year ago unsourced[៨], quickly reverted[៩], then forcibly added again[១០] and has stayed since. The vandal's own history page Special:Contributions/Shii shows he's been adding more bogus Chinook etyms such as this one[១១] for muckety muck...

There may be a lot of old undone vandalism to be found there for admins... 16:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. DCDuring TALK 17:25, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


There is a quote by Alistair Cooke that uses uneatable, and adds some context to how the word is used.

quotes.dictionary.com slash It_has_been_an_unchallengeable_American_doctrine_that

It would be worth noting on the page that inedible is the usual, and preferred form, and that uneatable is only used in the context that something looks or tastes so horrible that no one would want to eat it, even though it is, in fact, edible.

You could make a case that anything's edible in the sense you can physically ingest it, even if it ultimately proves fatal, it's still 'edible'. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:00, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
I was taught the opposite, that edible substances are those that don't cause harm. Isn't that how the word is normally used? Dbfirs 20:17, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

¶ Is this term actually comparable? I think that would only apply to substances that are figuratively “uneatable”. --Pilcrow 23:32, 16 June 2011 (UTC)


1. It says "edible is the usual term, and much more frequent in the US – eatable may be interpreted as an error – while comestible is relatively formal.".

This is ambiguous, and makes it look as though in other English-speaking countries, eatable is commonly used.

I cannot speak for England, but in Australia, eatable would also be considered an error, except in specific contexts, as the article goes on to mention. Unless the English object, I would remove "in the US", and just say "and much more frequent – ".

2. There should be a link to uneatable as the antonym.

Hi. Point 2: I have added the antonym. Point 1: as far as I know, eatable is perfectly common and valid in all English-speaking countries. The etymology is clear enough: eat + -able. Do you have evidence to the contrary? Equinox 23:36, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

---I was simply asking to remove the phrase "in the US". The article makes it look as though it is only in the US that eatable is not regarded as the proper term.

I am Australian, and we were taught in school that the proper term is edible. "eatable" just sounds wrong. We might say something was uneatable, in the sense of being to horrible to eat (although edible), and even then, inedible is preferred.

"eatables" is sometimes used, and "eatery", but not "eatable" - it is "edible".

You asked for evidence: Google: eatable 1,280,000 results; edible 45,100,000 results Several of the results for eatable is for businesses marketing "eatable" clothing and other items that would not normally be expected to be eaten. Others are websites by people for whom English is a second language. For business/artistic license, one makes exceptions, but it certainly is not common practice.

I'd say edible is both more common and more standard. Some people consider eatable an error, which I don't. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:57, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Regarding the suggestion that "eatable" implies lower quality than does "edible," this US style guide disagrees. — Pingkudimmi 11:33, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

I said UNeatable means horrible. My only point about 'eatable' is that it is not the common variant - google supports that 'edible' is by far the preferred option.

The article says that only "in the US" is eatable considered an error. It is also considered an error here. Please remove the phrase "in the US".

The word is perfectly acceptable in its own right, especially in the negative (e.g. Wilde's "The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable"), but "eatable" is often used when "edible" would be preferable in all English-speaking countries. I agree that we should remove the US restriction, and perhaps we could clarify the usage note at the same time. Dbfirs 20:08, 11 June 2011 (UTC)


Hi, collegues. Some months ago, RATP changed its message from

  • Terminus, please alight!


  • This is the last stop, please leave the train!

I am wondering why they did that. Was the verb alight a problem in this context (eg is it only for the cattle ? ;-) --ArséniureDeGallium 19:16, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Alight is completely correct here, but it's not a very common word. Many more people will understand "leave the train". ("Leave the train", by the way, does not strike me as very idiomatic — I would say "get off the train" — but its meaning is very clear, and I suspect that more non-native speakers will understand it. After all, their target audience is not just native English-speakers, but any English-speaker who isn't also a French-speaker.) —RuakhTALK 20:17, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
I remember when I was in London the intercom on the Underground would say 'alight here' for certain destinations. I'm not sure if it is still that way. —CodeCat 20:19, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Ruakh, you really made the answer I was expecting for. Very interresting. Thanks. :)) --ArséniureDeGallium 20:29, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

enthousiastic and enthousiastically[កែប្រែ]

I nominated both of these for deletion in French Wiktionary as misspellings, but was countered with a few hundred book uses of each. I was wondering, are these misspellings, or are they legitimate alternate spellings? bd2412 T 21:25, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Since they more closely mirror the French spellings than the modern English ones do, I wouldn't be surprised to find out they're obsolete spellings. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:33, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
68 of the 4500 bgc hits for "enthousiasm" and "anthousiastic" are followed by "sic". That seems to say that writers quoting the spelling think of it as a misspelling. If seems common among writers with Dutch and French surnames, though not so limited. DCDuring TALK 23:26, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I'm putting it down as a common misspelling for now. bd2412 T 00:08, 6 June 2011 (UTC)


This is currently defined as a suffix. Possibly the only word that can be described as having it may be half-assed, this seems a clear sum-of-part from -ass+-ed (compare "smart-assed"; though it's not clear what came first amongst the -ass words, some seem to date from the 60s at least), but most other words just use the noun as an appositive, e.g. "badass", "dumbass". Circeus 23:04, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

They are grammatically very different. -assed is clearly an adjective because of the -ed suffix. But -ass is a noun, specifically a so-called bahuvrihi compound, that denotes something that is not present in the compound. A badass isn't an ass that's bad, it's someone (perhaps originally) having an ass that's bad. It's similar to black belt. —CodeCat 23:14, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure about that? I always assumed that these "ass" compounds are an extension of ass (the self; a person). The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (previewable on b.g.c.) gives that ass from 1945, bad-ass from 1955, and dumb-ass from 1958. (Though I suppose, when it comes down to it, there's not much difference between an exocentric compound and an endocentric one with a synecdochic head.) —RuakhTALK 00:37, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
If I can say that someone is very badass, then I don't see how badass can be endocentric. It's clearly a descriptive word in that example. —CodeCat 00:42, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
My point is actually that our single -assed example is clearly half+ass/-ass (i.e. half-ass)+-ed. Are there -assed compounds that cannot be -ass+-ed? Circeus 03:31, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Request for a new addition[កែប្រែ]

Häufigkeit German Noun - English 'Frequency" Gender f Plural die Häufigkeiten

It is used in a page in Wiktionary so should have an entry itself: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/frequency Bees77707 11:55, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Häufigkeit, you could add it yourself, or use WT:RE:de (section H). Mglovesfun (talk) 20:31, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
I've started it. —Angr 15:07, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Lateral Area[កែប្រែ]

I am a student at a school and i do not get this concept at all could someone please explain!!?ទំព័រគំរូ:unsigned

Some combination of lateral and area I guess; without the context I can't tell you. --Mglovesfun (talk) 08:31, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
IME it refers to the surface area of the sides of an object (i.e., excluding the respective areas of the top and the bottom surfaces). HTH.​—msh210 (talk) 16:51, 10 June 2011 (UTC)


"A spiderweb, or the remains of one, especially an asymmetrical one that is woven with an irregular pattern of threads." Neither Chambers nor Webster says that a cobweb is usually asymmetrical or irregular. Can we source this, or should we just reduce the definition to cover all spider-webs? Equinox 01:47, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure about asymmetry and irregularity, but for me cobweb is definitely more specific than spider web. [[w:Spider web#Types of spider webs]] lists a bunch of types of spider web, with cobweb being treated as apparently synonymous with tangle web; Wikipedia doesn't explain what they are, but the term "tangle web" certainly evokes the right image for me. —RuakhTALK 02:17, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
I always thought cobwebs were broken remnants of spiderwebs or even of air-blown individual filaments + dust, in line with MWOnline's def: "tangles of the silken threads of a spiderweb usually covered with accumulated dirt and dust".
I would disagree mostly with the "woven" part of the definition. BTW, is high dusting includable? DCDuring TALK 04:09, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
My sense is that cobwebs are strictly an indoor phenomenon while spiderwebs can be in or out. A search for nouns collocating with the lemma cobweb supports this. Nouns such as ceiling, corner, house, windows, and room turn up, but you don't find nouns like grass, tree, branch, and earth.--Brett 10:48, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
It can also be found with "porch", "barn", and "cave". Any place that lowers wind speed enough for the structure to survive for a while seems to suffice. DCDuring TALK 13:24, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
-- DCDuring TALK 13:27, 9 June 2011 (UTC)


dagnabit [កែប្រែ]

The one example on dagnabit spells the word "dagnabbit". Seems a bit inconsistent. Google suggests that both spellings are common. There may be more, using hyphens or blanks as separators (e.g. "dag nabbit") and then there is also dagnammit. Is all that worth adding to the article? Rl 06:35, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

The spelling with 2 "b"s is more common on Google books. The 2-"b" spelling is also a better fit with the nearly "p" sound I recall from TV westerns. I have edited the entry a bit, but not yet moved it to the more common spelling.
dagnamit is more common than dagnammit, but both are much less common than dagnabit. I'd be happiest if all of the entries were alternate forms of or hard redirects to dagnabbit. DCDuring TALK 12:56, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, dagnabit appears in the title of a Deputy Dawg episode, Dagnabit, Rabbit. — Pingkudimmi 13:31, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
Moved to dagnabbit. dagnabit is an alt form. DCDuring TALK 19:27, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

fishmonger, warmonger, et al[កែប្រែ]

Fishmonger's etymology is defined as a "compound word"; warmonger's is defined as a "word suffixed with -monger". Should we be consistent with these? Could they be both compound and suffixed words, I wonder? Oh, and to add salt to the wounds, what should we do about fishmonger's? :) ---> Tooironic 13:15, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Consistency is always good, but the line between these two is blurred. It's hard to tell whether something is a compound or a suffixed word sometimes. At what point does a word that is consistently compounded with other words become a suffix? Is it when it is no longer identical to its origin? —CodeCat 13:25, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't call monger a suffix, personally, I'd say these are all compound words. Ƿidsiþ 13:50, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
We could say it becomes a suffix when it is no longer used as a separate word, but still is added to stems. Does this fit the fact pattern for "monger"/"-monger"?
There is no reason for consistency in presentation as there is no consistency in the nature of word formation over time. I hypothesize that borrowing and Anglicizing Latin words ending in "itas" and Old/Middle/Modern French ending in "ite" led to the existence of a population of words ending in "ity" from which the productive English suffix "-ity" was inferred. Thus a few presentations (inconsistent with each other) of etymology would be appropriate for words ending in "ity", IMHO. DCDuring TALK 16:09, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
I suspect that "compound word" would be best. We don't normally invent new words with "-monger" (Second-hand carmonger, anyone?) -- ALGRIF talk 16:53, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Serbo-Croatian persirati[កែប្រែ]

Does anyone know the translation in English? Would the etymology of the word be too much to ask? Regards, --Biblbroks дискашн 20:10, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't speak that language but there's a page on Wikipedia suggesting it means "address with the polite V-form". In English addressing with the impolite T-form is to thou, tutoy, or tutoyer, but I don't know a verb for the other one. Equinox 20:25, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it means to address with the polite V-form. Actually, since I am a native Serbo-Croatian speaker, my question should have been thus: does anyone know the equivalent in English for persirati? But since I am not a native English speaker, my question asked was as above. :-/. Thanks for the info, though. Actually, as I was skimming through that Wikipedia page, I've come to think of the etymology. Perhaps it comes from the German Sie, but the prefix per- is what puzzles me in that case. Also if German is the source for the word, pronounciation might be with z not s. Regards, --Biblbroks дискашн 21:30, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
No real equivalent; use {{non-gloss definition}}. --Mglovesfun (talk) 09:59, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Should we create a non-idiomatic translation target page for this? A lot of languages have such words, it would be a shame if we had no way to link them together. —RuakhTALK 15:49, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps an appendix, then?​—msh210 (talk) 16:23, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Why non-gloss definition? "To address with the polite v form" is a gloss.​—msh210 (talk) 16:23, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't thus appear somewhat cumbersome? I haven't found an entry for V-form in wiktionary, so it might be better if it were created first in order not to create any potential confusion. Just MHO. --BiblbroX дискашн 21:56, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
non-idiomatic translation target sounds good, but what? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:11, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Created the entry. Dunno 'bout the {{non-gloss definition}}, tho. --BiblbroX дискашн 09:29, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

on acid, on steroids[កែប្រែ]

I don't understand how these are adjectives. Can someone give an non-adverb example? Equinox 16:27, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

How about As you'd expect, the rules for these sudoku on steroids are slightly different.Pingkudimmi 16:45, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
We have the heading "Prepositional phrases" and an associated category (at least in English) for these, um, prepositional phrases. DCDuring TALK 17:09, 12 June 2011 (UTC)


In mostly emptying Category:English familiar terms, I came across this entry with a single sense. I split the definition into three, differing basically by register and usage and, therefore, synonyms and translations. Is my split of the definition an improvement? Is it adequate for checking and dividing the translations? Can this entry be fixed by, say, Sunday, June 19th? Would it be a good WOTD? DCDuring TALK 22:10, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Surely #1 and #2 are the same, #2 is just the vocative use of #1, right? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:35, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
If you don't like this, what do you think of cleaning up lady? When I looked at various terms of address, like guy, fella, Mack, buddy, Jack, deary, I found it difficult to match the ordinary noun senses with the uses of the vocative. For example, deary had only the obsolete sense, though it was not uncommon in my youth and remains in use. As a term of address, it does not necessarily have the meaning "dear one". Generally I don't think that the register information that we should have would be the same for vocative and other uses. DCDuring TALK 23:00, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
[after e/c] Yes, I think so. Or, more precisely, I think #2 is a vocative use of the proper noun Dad, which is a proper-noun use of #1. But it may be worth keeping all three, anyway, since a non-native speaker might have difficulty guessing which words for "father" are used vocatively, which as common nouns, and which as proper nouns, in which registers and contexts. —RuakhTALK 23:14, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Secretary of State[កែប្រែ]

Why is this so often capitalised, even when being used as a common (and countable) noun? Seems strange to me. ---> Tooironic 12:11, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

See also [[User:Msh210/Sandbox#name prependages]].​—msh210 (talk) 15:25, 14 June 2011 (UTC) Actually, that's not so relevant.​—msh210 (talk) 18:27, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
In the U.S. it's pretty common to capitalize this sort of official designation, especially nouns, but also a few adjectives (such as "Federal"). I think it leaks from a sort of legalistic or bureaucratic usage that seeks to make clear that the designation is invested with an official meaning. Anyone can declare themself a "secretary of state", but it takes a Constitution to make them a "Secretary of State". :-P   Which designations are capitalized depends on how much officialese has pervaded the document; I would be very surprised to find "States" capitalized, for example, in a normal newspaper article, but conversely, I'd be very surprised to find "vice-president for academic affairs" written in lowercase there (provided it's a U.S. paper). In full-on legal contracts, you'll often even see all-caps; an initial paragraph might specify the definition of "EBAY" or "LESSEE", and thenceforth eBay or the lessee is consistently referred to thus. —RuakhTALK 15:45, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps also relevant is that Secretary of State serves as both the name of the position and the title of the incumbent (e.g., Secretary of State Clinton). In Australia, the equivalent is currently Foreign Minister Rudd, who is the Minister for Foreign Affairs. We have had quite a few foreign ministers over the years, just as the US has had secretaries of state. — Pingkudimmi 16:45, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, but that's not quite right. In U.S. usage the title "Secretary of State" and the common-noun "Secretary of State" are both regularly capitalized. This is what Tooironic found strange; and I suppose that you will find it strange as well, now that you know of it. :-)   (But to be sure: the title is nearly always capitalized, whereas the common-noun can go either way. Google suggests that Time typically capitalizes it, but that U.S. News and Newsweek typically do not.) —RuakhTALK 23:24, 16 June 2011 (UTC)


Are we missing the sense as in, "to put someone in the corner"? ---> Tooironic 12:23, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Te only to put someone in the corner I'm familiar with is literal (SOP) and corner in it is the corner of a room. We have that as noun sense 2 ("The space in the angle between converging lines or walls which meet in a point", which is perhaps not worded as well as it could be).​—msh210 (talk) 18:29, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm talking about the idiomatic usage, not a literal corner. ---> Tooironic 23:40, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
What is it supposed to mean? I'm unfamiliar with it. The first twenty results of ទំព័រគំរូ:google are all literal.​—msh210 (talk) 15:07, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
I think it is a figurative corner, a consequence of having been figuratively boxed in. We seem to lack the (sub)sense that MWOnline has: "a difficult or embarrassing situation: a position from which escape or retreat is difficult or impossible", which they show after the "secret place" sense. DCDuring TALK 16:28, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
To be "in a bit of a corner" (metaphorically, i.e. in trouble) is quite common: [១២]. Equinox 16:30, 15 June 2011 (UTC)


is there any evidence of this sense (this sense) of temperamental? I can't think of good search terms. (The ones I've tried were no good.)​—msh210 (talk) 16:51, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

terrible with a capital T[កែប្រែ]

I noticed there are only three citations in Google Books. Anyway, you can do this "Blah with a capital B" for any adjective (try searching for "bad", "evil", "fun"). Thoughts on desirability? Equinox 20:08, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Seems like yet another snowclone ("yasc"?). DCDuring TALK 21:12, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
It might make sense for Wiktionary to capture snowclones, since they are a particular case of language usage with a particular meaning. But it would seem to represent a broadening in scope. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:17, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
There is Appendix:Snowclones. Equinox 11:30, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't object to this entry; I have never heard of it, ever, and as you say it's rare or very rare. The formula is something with a capital something, as you point out. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:41, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
And it is now added to Appendix:Snowclones and cross-linked. Dcoetzee (talk) 15:36, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

yes man[កែប្រែ]

Is this word used to refer only to males, or can it be used to refer to women as well? I've never heard it being used to refer to a woman, but that may be because people would rather not offend. I could imagine a lot of people would use yes woman in that case, but I've never heard anyone say that either. A friend of mine did refer to herself as "yes man" once though. —CodeCat 23:11, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

big phat[កែប្រែ]

ទំព័រគំរូ:movedfrom Well, last month I completed big fat (diff) plus some related edits. I also created a basic sourced entry for its alt spelling big phat; nothing too fancy:


{{en-adj|pos=[[big]] [[phat]]|-}}

# {{alternative form of|big fat}}

* {{w|Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band}}
* [http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/big-phat-liar "Big Phat Liar"] at {{w|The Smoking Gun}}
* [http://www.bigphatindianweddings.com/ "Big Phat Indian Weddings" website]

But now I find out this was summarily deleted a few hours later, even though:

  • This had regular formatting and couldn't be called a joke
  • This had basic sourcing and couldn't be called made-up
  • This had a link to phat also showing it's not nonsense
  • This had plenty of hits with a cursory search on Google Books or Google News (even using [ "big phat" -Goodwin ] so as to exclude references to the band) if one was still in doubt

And yet this was just shot in the back of the neck without even some discussion or review. I want to report this as a completely out-of-process, rogue deletion. And to add insult to injury, when I click the red link to big phat, it shows how this User:SemperBlotto added the inflamatory edit summary "nah!" -- there's not even a link to a policy or some pretense of justification: it just looks like a power-mad, in-your-face, because-I-can, plain eff-you to contributors.

So there are four things I'd like to know:

  1. Why shouldn't this article be restored or at least properly discussed?
  2. Why did this guy wipe himself with a good-faith and legitimate page?
  3. Why does such an unwiki cowboy has been given the right to be prosecutor-judge-jury-executioner of other people's work when he can't even click phat, or use Google Books, or propose for deletion, and is allowed to lord over decent contributors in edit summaries?
  4. Why shouldn't he be removed the possibility of more blatant abuse? (And how many similar ones did he commit that went unreported?)

Is that too much to ask? 19:02, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Moved here by Mglovesfun (talk) 11:32, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Blatant abuse, no. Bad decision yes. The small amount of dedicated administrator face dozens if not a 100+ decisions a day, and sometimes we get it wrong. That's not abuse, it's being wrong. --Mglovesfun (talk) 11:34, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
(see ទំព័រគំរូ:google). Mglovesfun (talk) 18:02, 19 June 2011 (UTC)


Noun sense:

ទំព័រគំរូ:uncountable A children's game in which the players pretend to be members of a household.
As the babysitter, Emma always acted as the mother whenever the kids demanded to play house.

Isn't this a proper noun?​—msh210 (talk) 16:36, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Not unless bridge, marbles, hopscotch et al are also, and none of them are currently listed as such. — lexicógrafa | háblame — 17:09, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Not to mention baseball. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:47, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
It does seem to have a sort of implied "(the game of) house" though. Like "let's play (at being a) doctor" — no game name entry there yet, I see. Equinox 11:31, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Does "house" have this sense without "play" or something else in the context that makes it clear that there is a game involved. Of course, we don't have the appropriate sense of "play". One could "play fireman", "play firehouse", or "play war". Should, then, "fireman", "firehouse", and "war" be defined as games? I realize that this reliance on context is against the grand lexicographical project of including every meaning of a term only as an explicit definition. But are we improving [[play]] by omitting the appropriate verb sense and [[house]] (and [[fireman]], [[firehouse]], and [[war]] by including a sense that only exists in frames that make it obvious what it intended? DCDuring TALK 15:05, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
It is quite a curious construct to me. Of course, with the indefinite article, play can mean "portray" (as on stage), and the child who "plays doctor" is in fact playing a doctor (but the second child is also "playing doctor", perhaps, who only acts as a patient). We also have that sense of "pretend to be" with an adjective, e.g. "play coy", "play dumb", "play dead", "play hard to get". Equinox 15:10, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
And "play truant," where it means "be." — Pingkudimmi 16:29, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I think it's mainly a common noun; think of something like "She dreamed that she might someday babysit kids who did not play so much house". (This is not to disagree with DCDuring. The only relevant hits at ទំព័រគំរូ:b.g.c. all have "playing house is a game", though one of them does mention "the American game 'house'". But if we do list it at [[house]], then I think it should be as a common noun.) —RuakhTALK 15:31, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
@ Equinox: I was trying to avoid exclusive reliance on the "play-a-role" sense of "play" by including "firehouse" and "war". But, the pretend patient is also playing "doctor". MWOnline has a sense.
@ Ruakh: I can't think of how to conveniently search for the game sense of "house" without using words like "game" and "play". Maybe in coordination with names of other children's games?
I found this usage: "Playing work," said he, "is just as much and as purely play as any play that ever was." There are many others involving words "X" that we are unlikely to wish to assign a sense of "a game involving playing roles typically involved in X". DCDuring TALK 16:34, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I guess I don't see a problem with the word "game" being nearby. This sense of "house" is largely restricted to the phrase "play house", where the special meaning is in "play" rather than in "house", but when it has different collocates, I think "house" itself has taken on the meaning. I dunno. —RuakhTALK 17:59, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that the presence of such words as "play" and "game" is a clear indicator that the context is determining how to read "house" (or "war" or "fireman" or "firehouse" or "work"). If "house" is a "game" it is one without rules, only roles. No OneLook reference has "house" in this sense, just as they don't have special senses for "playing war" (not war game) or the others.
I guess my claim is that, not only is there a meaning of "play" that frames the interpretation of "house" when "house" is object of "play", but, more generally, that other words are indicators of a context that frames the interpretation. DCDuring TALK 18:57, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
But doesn't context always frame the interpretation of a word? I mean, no one hears the word baby, shorn of context, and thinks of its vegetable sense; does this mean that [[baby]] shouldn't mention that sense? For that matter, the whole concept of rfv-sense is that we can look through b.g.c. and determine, based on context, what sense was meant of a given word. —RuakhTALK 20:12, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes. I guess I am trying to make a distinction between a productive context into which many, many words would fit and those that select among senses in the lexicon. "To play" something where something is a situation ("racetrack", "geography", "farm", "luxury", "mercy", all from COCA} seems to create a frame with turns any following noun (actually we should include nominal phrases like "find the chicken", "remember when") into one meaning a game of some kind. I think this is why other dictionaries don't see fit to include this sense of "house". DCDuring TALK 20:56, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I see. I think we largely agree; we both feel that "play ____" is a special property of "play", rather than of "____". The difference is in a detail: you feel that the special property of "play" is that it makes "____" a game, so any other context that makes "____" a game will have the same effect, whereas I feel that the special property of "play" is that it makes "____" a hyponym of "pretend" ("play house" being one type of "play pretend"), so other contexts that merely make "____" a game, and not necessarily a form of pretend, will not have the same effect unless "____" has become lexicalized. —RuakhTALK 00:12, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad I was able to successfully say what I meant. But I think that there is clearly no special lexical sense of "racetrack", "geography", "farm", "luxury", "mercy", "find the chicken", "remember when", "firehouse", or "Mommy and Daddy". I see "house" as no different, except for being more common. DCDuring TALK 00:26, 23 June 2011 (UTC)


Hi from Paris ;-)

It took me some time to understand this word, in the following sentence coming from Charles Manson discography [[១៣]] (Other recordings section) :

An unofficial CD of a prison concert from the 1970s is available in collectors' circles and since being parolled several years ago, (…)

After some research… and thinking ;-) as both parolled and (to) paroll are not quoted either in Wiktionary or in my Harper Collins senior, I came to the point it should come from the verb to parole, as a research for paroled led me to the article parole. However, in wk, only paroled is quoted as the Simple past tense and past participle of parole, where the spelling parolled… is not !?

1. What is the rule for past forms coming from such verbs ending w/ an “e”

2. What could (should) be done as I found out 13 other occurrences for parolled in your whole WP:en, apparently w/ a similar meaning/usage ?

Thanks a lot in advance.

--Bibliorock 02:35, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

At Google News (archives) "paroled" is about 2000 times more common than "parolled". In the last month it is about 1000 time more common, perhaps reflecting the lesser quality editing in what News now includes. At that relative frequency I personally would be comfortable calling "parolled" an error. I would correct the various WP entries. I think the source of the error is that writers may be modelling the spelling of the -ing form and past/past participle of parole on the spelling of the same forms of patrol (patrolling, patrolled), with which "parole" rhymes. I find I need to check (or heed the spell-check warnings of) my spelling of these term with doubled consonants for the past/past participle and -ing form. HTH. DCDuring TALK 03:31, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree; but in addition to "parolled" being an uncommon misspelling today, ទំព័រគំរូ:b.g.c. and ទំព័រគំរូ:b.g.c. give me the impression that "paroll(ed)" was once a standard alternative spelling. ("Paroll" seems to have disappeared completely, and "parolled" seems to survive only as a "patrolled"-influenced misspelling, perhaps essentially unrelated to its former standard use.) —RuakhTALK 03:55, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Google N-gram search makes it seem that the two-"l" spelling was the more common before 1800. DCDuring TALK 05:26, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
If it helps, Old French parole became Middle French parolle by hypercorrection. That is to say, only one l in the Latin parabola. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:04, 19 June 2011 (UTC)


The verb section contains a sense "To turn aside; to recede.", citing Chaucer.

Webster 1913 shows this as a separate entry, ie, etymology, but does not provide any etymology. I would certainly not want to show it as the same etymologically as the other senses of waive#Verb. It seems more related to waver. Thoughts? OED? DCDuring TALK 21:45, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

  • I've split them up, although I did change that definition from ‘turn aside’ to ‘stray, wander’, which seems to be what is meant. Ƿidsiþ 16:38, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
    Interesting that there is apparently a Medieval Latin waivium (thing thrown away by a thief in flight) per (Online Ety Dict). I wonder where that came from. "Unknown Germanic source"? "Waive" and "waif" clearly have influenced each other, whatever their distinct origins may have been. DCDuring TALK 17:17, 21 June 2011 (UTC)


¶ The sense “(From the old fashioned practice of using dried corncobs instead of toilet paper in outdoor privies)” sounds quite bizarre. Is that verifiable? --Pilcrow 18:12, 20 June 2011 (UTC)


Most of the purported usage examples seem wrong to me. For example I thought that cantor = stem of cantus, past participle of cano, rather than stem of cano + -tor as the usage notes imply. Only the gladiator derivation seems right, as there was no corresponding classical Latin verb *gladio. Almost all the inhabitants of the category of derivations have the same characteristics.

I think something analogous applies at -sor#Latin.

To me it seems more economical to select the past participle stem as the stem of the agent nouns than then the first person present indicative stem. DCDuring TALK 14:58, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

It only seems that way as an artifact of the participle and suffix endings merging in Classical Latin. The older forms of the words demonstrate that etymologically it is the principal stem from which the word is formed, and not the participle. There just aren't meny cases where the participial and agent suffix consonants demonstrate this. You can read more in works like Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar (revised by Anne Mahoney). I've been (mostly) following Allen's interpretation of Latin suffixes.
That said, Allen has not always been right. His Latin vowel sounds have been overturned by more modern scholarship, and if there is more modern scholarship on the origin and implementation of Latin suffixes, I've love to see it. However, Allen makes a pretty convincing case, and as far as I know his scholarship in this matter is not contested by Classicists. --EncycloPetey 21:11, 17 July 2011 (UTC)


Quite a few of the derived terms of hit, especially those beginning "hit the", seem to share informal and/or figurative senses of "hit" (verb) , whether or not they are idiomatic. The senses seem to be missing in [[hit#Verb]].

I am especially interested in:

-- DCDuring TALK 20:00, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

I always imagined hit the hay and hit the sack to use (as you and I both think hit the deck and hit the ground use) a "hit with one's body; land on" sense of hit. Hit the books and hit the bottle seem to use a "use heavily" sense of hit, or something like that. Hit the jackpot I always imagined as using a "manage to arrive at" (or something like that) sense of hit also found in hit the target and hit the bull's-eye. We do have a "To manage to touch in the right place" sense with hit the jackpot as a usex. Imagination is a wonderful thing.​—msh210 (talk) 20:24, 21 June 2011 (UTC)


I've see iPhone aps with what I call shakescreen or tiltscreen technology - it works where if you shake or wobble or tilt the phone, the screen appears as if it too is shaking/tilting (mostly used for games, I guess). Is there a more in-use word than shakescreen or tiltscreen to denote this, or other -screen words akin to touchscreen? If not, can these be promoted? BTW, iPhones are a good source of new language. --Murray Right 23:14, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Other -screens could be flickscreen, rubscreen, wavescreen, lickscreen - there's surely some games played where you flick/rub/wave/lick(?) the screen. --Murray Right 23:16, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with the first comment; none of the proposed words have nothing to do with an actual screen technology like "touchscreen" does. This way, _anything_ that shows on the screen could get a "-screen" word. I don't think it's feasible... Arny 22:49, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


The content in this page is very confusing. In the definition part it says that lhe is the dative of ele and ela but in the table that follows, lhe is listed in the accusative section. I don't speak Portuguese so I can't make a correction, but could somebody please fix this inconsistency? Wyverald 01:25, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I believe the problem is with the column labels in the table; its "Direct object (accusative case)" column seems to contain both direct and indirect object pronouns (accusative and dative cases), and its "Indirect object (dative case)" column contains what I believe are the object-of-preposition pronouns (prepositional case). —RuakhTALK 02:29, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
That’s right. lhe is the dative case, but it is an objective pronoun (object of a verb) rather than a prepositional pronoun. I changed the column headings. —Stephen (Talk) 02:47, 23 June 2011 (UTC)


We have treated this and many similar affixes used scientific and professional (law, medicine) fields as English. But most of them are rarely used with non-Latin stems (including Ancient-Greek ones derived as the Romans did). Many of the etymologies of these terms reference New Latin, but we have few of such suffixes. It may well be that most of the medical and legal words (less likely terms of more than one word) so derived are translingual, appearing in multiple European languages.

Should we not create Latin sections for such suffixes and move most or all of the derived terms to the Latin entries? That would also mean that {{suffix}} should not be used in the English section as the suffixation takes place in Latin. This is more or less the way it works of is supposed to work for taxons. Medical and legal Latin terms are similar to the taxons, though there is no official standards body, AFAIK, and the derivations sometimes seem barbaric or in the manner of Vulgar or Late Latin. DCDuring TALK 01:30, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Miranda warning[កែប្រែ]

Miranda warning is a member of Category:American English. Is that categorization accurate? --Daniel 01:56, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

A Google news search for the past month shows 186 uses in US publications, 1 in a UK publication, a law-firm press release discussing their US capabilities. DCDuring TALK 02:13, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. --Daniel 20:24, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Short form for STEWARD[កែប្រែ]

Please advise me of the short form alphabets for the word STEWARD.

May be it is 'stwd'

Thank you

Randy Loo


Hi everybody. I found the word marenge in the english translation of a menu in Reykjavik. Any idea of what it could be? (the icelandic word was marens, but that doesn't help me) Thanks. --ArséniureDeGallium 23:33, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Maybe a creative spelling of meringue? Nadando 00:25, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that is also my best guess. I was just surprised because Icelanders generally speak a better English than mine. Thanks for the answer. --ArséniureDeGallium 09:29, 25 June 2011 (UTC)


If this is uncountable, why can we say "a willingness to do something"? On second inspection, there appears to be hits on Google Books for "willingnesses" anyway... ---> Tooironic 00:00, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Many nouns are both, often in virtually the same sense. It is a little tedious to determine which is the more prevalent for a specific sense. "show" and synonyms + "a willingness" is about 4 times as common as "show" and synonyms + "willingness" at COCA. "Willingnesses" does not appear there. OTOH "our willingness" (112) and "their willingness" (541) are fairly common. I'm not really sure that "a" is a 100% reliable indicator on countability, though I have used it as such. The semantics of "a willingness" vs "willingness" seem a bit different to me. To me "a willingness" seems possibly situationally or otherwise qualified in a way that "willingness" does not. DCDuring TALK 02:48, 25 June 2011 (UTC)


Why is it that the word historic is preceeded with an, while history is preceeded with a?

See [១៤]. Equinox 21:46, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

central business district / downtown[កែប្រែ]

The inner city is referred to as the central business district in Australia and downtown in the United States. What do Britons call it? ---> Tooironic 05:43, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

town centre/city centre? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:28, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

make money[កែប្រែ]

The entry make money, defined as "To acquire money." was deleted in 2008. I'd like to restore it. --Daniel 10:50, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

It seems SOP to me. This is not the most common sense of make, of course, but it doesn't require the object "money"; you can just as easily say, "he made twenty bucks playing poker last night", or "studies show that if a woman makes much more than her husband does, then she's likely to do much more of the housework as well". This doesn't even seem like a very useful translation target, since most languages are likely to use some verb plus their word for "money", and the translation table at [[make]] is the right place to list that verb. —RuakhTALK 11:46, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
OK, I accept your explanation and your new sense[១៥] of "make". Thanks. --Daniel 12:17, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
This is a great exemplar of why we need more work on some basic entries. To complete one's idiomatic understanding of English, one needs to understand the scope of verbs like make, do, have, set, and go. To the extent a dictionary entry can help, our entries need work to provide that help. "Make money" is the main path to the applicable sense of "make". It would be nice to be able to use a redirect to get a user from a common collocation like "make money" to the specific sense line at make#Verb. Can that be done without hard-coded HTML, say, with some kind of template located at the sense, to which a template like {{only in}} or a conventional hard or soft redirect could link? DCDuring TALK 13:49, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

French entry abonnir[កែប្រែ]

The current revision of the French entry abonnir has so many contexts, the templates can't even display all of them. Here's the def:

#{{transitive|absolutive|or|reflexive|usually|inanimate|strongly|_|dated}} To [[improve]]; to [[render]] or become [[better]].

--Daniel 10:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I just shortened it a bit, but conveying the same information. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:02, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

drink - uncountable[កែប្រែ]

I propose adding an uncountable sense "Any liquid substance that can be consumed by living beings, by drinking." to the entry drink.

The reason is: We have a category named Category:Food and drink. --Daniel 09:31, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

That's not evidence. That's a reason to look for evidence of usage or authority to support a sense. DCDuring TALK 11:23, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I think this is already covered by the existing senses, since they are marked "countable and uncountable". What you have said is the uncountable version of "beverage". Equinox 11:24, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
"Beverage" is used with "much" even more rarely (relative to "beverage"'s total use) than "drink" is. The sense wordings at [[drink#Noun]] that begin with "a" are hard to reconcile with uncountability, especially if we treat substitutability as an essential for a gloss-type definition. I am not sure how many of the existing senses have corresponding uncountable senses. Nor am I certain how to word the senses to support both countability and mass-noun senses in one definition. We could see how other dictionaries have resolved this. DCDuring TALK 12:34, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


Is the sense "a shortened form of nickname" used only for Internet nicknames/handles? In fact I've only heard it on IRC and never in any other chat or messaging system. (Page should be split by etymology too.) Equinox 11:19, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

ទំព័រគំរូ:google generates 150K+ hits, many of which seem to fit the sense. Some also mention IRC, but the usage context seems much broader than IRC. "Nick" seems to refer to any screen name/screenname. It would seem to require a separate etymology, whatever the scope of use. DCDuring TALK 11:38, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Beware that the hit numbers reported by Google on the first page of results may be meaningless and vastly inflated random numbers. For me, your linked search reports "about 167,000" hits, but, paging through, the list stops at 531. The maximum number of hits Google will ever display is 1000 (as evidenced by searching for obviously extremely common words), so presumably it really has run out of matches at 531. This is very typical behaviour. I don't think Google realise how these stats get bandied about in forums such as this one, and how many people seem to take them at face value. I wish they would fix what seems to be a ridiculous bug, but of course it is impossible to contact them other than via a feedback system which they can't possibly manually monitor. 01:29, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I know that there are gross problems with the count at Google, but I often forget. Does Google NGram have the same problem or have they done something to suck up to a more serious research audience with that product? DCDuring TALK 02:19, 10 July 2011 (UTC)


I was wondering if the pronunciation of the word bulletin in English is the same as the French one or is it different? In the article there is no mention of it... Arny 22:40, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

It is not identical. The French -in sounds like /ɛ̃/, for one thing. The French pronunciation is (very approximately) something like "bool-tan". Equinox 22:46, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, but I know the French pronunciation (also written in IPA in article), but don't know the English one ;) So, if someone would be so kind to write it in the article; I (not a native English speaker) for example, have no idea how should it be pronounced... Arny 02:09, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Something like /ˈbʊlətɪn/ in the US; I can't speak for other parts of the world. — lexicógrafa | háblame — 02:42, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Anyway, the sounds /y/ and /ɛ̃/ don't exist in English... Lmaltier 20:36, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Lexicografía and Lmaltier. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:46, 3 July 2011 (UTC)


I think the sense #1 of yakuza "A Japanese organized crime gang" is a proper noun that should be defined on Yakuza. --Daniel 02:43, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

If you take a quick look on Google books, it's easy to find many citations that use the lowercase yakuza in that sense: "This group was the yakuza, sometimes called the Japanese mafia.", etc.--Prosfilaes 02:51, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Then that's an alternative lowercase proper noun sense. --Daniel 03:10, 2 July 2011 (UTC)


Shouldn't this be Category:English onomatopoeia? Mglovesfun (talk) 21:42, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it should. --Daniel 02:32, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I've never understood why {{onomatopoeia}} is used as (and is designed to be used as and is categorized as) a grammar context template. It should be an etymology template (my preference) or there should be another template for use in etymology sections. DCDuring TALK 03:02, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion, the sense should mention "onomatopoeia" without resorting to parenthesized contexts. Example:
"An onomatopoeia representing the sound of a door being knocked."
--Daniel 03:42, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
That seems to confound the etymology and the use. See woof#Etymology 2. DCDuring TALK 04:59, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
FYI, Daniel, any context template can be made to display without parenthesis and italics and to categorize by typing, e.g., {{mathematics|sub=labelcat}}.​—msh210 (talk) 18:23, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I second both DCDuring's posts. The word "onomatopoeia" should not appear as part of a definition, and I am inclined to think there should not even be a context tag for "onomatopoedia" on the definition line, as this information belongs to etymology. --Dan Polansky 18:43, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Aren't we missing the verb sense? You hear it all the time when nerds speak on American TV shows. ---> Tooironic 04:17, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Do you mean route#Verb? Rl 12:25, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I spose so. However there are apparent hits on Google Books for routering and routered. ---> Tooironic 13:30, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
In woodworking, when you use a router bit on a piece of wood, you are routering it. —Stephen (Talk) 21:54, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I would have said you were routing it (pronounced rowting as opposed to rooting), but usage might vary by region, and the OED has the verb to router in this sense, dating back to 1890. I've added a verb entry. Please improve as necessary, and add the network sense, but would this go under the first etymology? Dbfirs 12:15, 7 July 2011 (UTC)


Primary sense: "A female fictional character who has a cat's ears, tail or other feline characteristics on an otherwise humanoid body." Daniel added "A female cosplayer whose garments include a fake cat's ears, tail other feline characteristics." I feel this isn't really a distinct sense. It's like having senses of fireman and nurse saying "a man who comes dressed as a fireman to a party", "a woman who dresses in a nurse outfit" ("The fireman won the 'best costume' prize, and the nurse came second, but I thought the catgirl was the best"). How can we justify the cosplayer sense? Equinox 19:08, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

To me it seems like a distinct sense. See this comic, and click "next comic" several times to see how it's used. —RuakhTALK 17:21, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how that's distinct (except perhaps in the fictional universe of the one comic): they just seem like people dressed as catgirls, like the fireman and nurse. Another analogy IMO would be having an entry at tree saying "any plastic, metal, etc. replica of a tree", as in "my toy zoo came with five trees". Using a word to mean something-that-looks-like-the-thing is just universal. Equinox 20:16, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
They're different because the partiers are not dressed like catgirls, they're dressed like cats. But I don't think this is specific to cosplay. DAVilla 19:20, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I disagree, because a good, complete cat costume would not make a girl look like a catgirl, but like a sort of pantomime cat. Equinox 19:24, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
@Equinox: I believe that the characters in the comic are using the word in the same way that people in the real world use the word. (Obviously the comic portrays the catgirls in a mock-horror-movie way, but that's an encyclopedic attribute of the term's referents, not relevant to the term's dictionary definition.) —RuakhTALK 18:10, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I can find Google matches for e.g. "I went as a catgirl". I doubt a catgirl would say she went to a convention as a cat. (And before someone jumps on me saying "you just used catgirl in the sense you are objecting to", yes, I'd call the guy in a fireman costume a fireman, too, while he was in costume, just as I'd call the plastic trees "trees".) Equinox 19:07, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Wait, is that reply directed at me? (It seems more like a continuation of your reply to DAVilla?) —RuakhTALK 22:05, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
To me the comic appears to be using it just to refer to girls in catgirl costume. What am I missing? (I also don't really trust quirky Web comics as representations of reality.) Equinox 13:22, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The comic is indeed using it to refer to girls in catgirl costume, but what on Earth does that have to do with "doubt[ing] a catgirl would say she went to a convention as a cat"? —RuakhTALK 13:30, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
To me, the question seems to be whether people in the second sense ("A female cosplayer etc. ... ") actually are catgirls, or whether catgirls are only fictional and these real girls are just dressing up as them. I don't know the answer to that one! 21:00, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

I've modified the costume definition to broaden it outside of cosplay. DAVilla 05:09, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

"in ballast"/"in ballast condition"[កែប្រែ]

Hi. These two synonymous terms are widely used on en.wikipedia but not defined there. I think they are better candidates for a dictionary entry than an encyclopedia article. In simplest terms, a ship is "in ballast" or "in ballast condition" if it is carrying no cargo. To make the empty ship heavier and more stable, water is pumped into ballast tanks. It is possible that there are regional preferences in usage - my guess is that the "in ballast" form is more widely used in Commonwealth countries and those with close historical ties to the UK. Perhaps someone more clueful than I am on wiktionary could add these terms in the appropriate places? Many thanks. Haus 19:52, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. DCDuring TALK 17:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I wonder whether it is ballast condition rather than in ballast condition that is meritorious of an entry. To me, in ballast seems a bit more like a true idiom than either. For now, I have made in ballast condition an alternative form of in ballast. DCDuring TALK 18:00, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Category:English acronyms[កែប្រែ]

In reviewing the appropriateness of the categorization of abbreviations, I noticed three problems or issues:

  1. Many items classified as acronyms are initialisms as I have heard them.
  2. It is hard to tell whether some vowel-less acronyms might actually be pronounced as acronyms or initialisms.
  3. Some items classified as acronyms seem likely to be pronounced as neither pure acronyms nor pure initialisms, but rather as a hybrid of both. For example, I would expect DDoS to be pronounced "dee-doss".

How can this be cleaned up? We need contributors who have heard these used in conversation to make decisions about pronunciation. But we also cannot rely on "initialism" and "acronym" alone to communicate pronunciation in the case of the hybrids. Furthermore, relying on the pseudo-PoS headers "acronym" and "initialism" to convey pronunciation information prevents contributors from adding true PoS information that complies with WT:ELE.

Probably this will eventually need to go to BP and/or GP, but someone may have useful ideas about improvements that are fully consistent with existing policy and tools. DCDuring TALK 17:02, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the categories should be used as a way to distinguish different ways of pronunciation. Like you said, some are pronounced in both ways. I think it would be better to merge them. —CodeCat 17:13, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

tough row to hoe[កែប្រែ]

Is it worthwhile to have usage notes such as in this entry for idioms that display a similar level of variation? Would this eliminate the need for entries for the variations? Should the most common variations appear as alternative forms or be redirects? If the alternative forms are to appear in the entry, should they appear where WT:ELE requires, at the top of the L2 section ? DCDuring TALK 02:01, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

I certainly find the usage notes worthwhile. I don't have an opinion on the other questions (I'd say it depends on other circumstances), except that the usage notes should be easy to find even when looking up a variation. Rl 07:37, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

up for[កែប្រែ]

The entry calls its headword a preposition with two senses. Semantically, the first sense ("Are you up for pizza?") seems to be up (eager, ready) + for. Grammatically, the collocation can be preceded by adverbs which usually seem to modify "up" rather than an entire prepositional phrase headed by up for. Similarly the second sense ("the proposal up for election") seems to be up (presented for or undergoing consideration) + for. But I am not so sure about the validity of the required adjective sense, so this second one might be valid. DCDuring TALK 02:56, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

In both cases I think up is using the preposition for to construe its complement. Something like “I’m up for pizza, or for Chinese, but not for Mexican”, or “Is it up for discussion, or just for a vote?” sounds O.K. to me. In the past we've occasionally kept combinations of [word] + [preposition used to construe word], under the part of speech of [word], but personally I don't think we should. —RuakhTALK 10:44, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I am of the opinion that all senses should be kept (though the second definition is too narrow and is phrased incorrectly). Even if we can theoretically piece the meanings out of "up" and "for", I think the combination "up for" in the senses illustrated is sufficiently idiomatic to warrant its own entry. Certainly, when I say "I'm up for that", for example, I don't imagine that I'm saying "I'm up", and then explaining what it is that I'm up for. 11:17, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you are more up for this entry as a whole than I am. Personally, I believe that our neglect of grammatical evidence should be more up for reconsideration than it is. DCDuring TALK 11:39, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
But that's true of any sequence of words. When you say "I want to talk to him", do you imagine that you're saying, "I want", and then explaining what it is that you want to do? —RuakhTALK 11:39, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. "I want" is a chunk of meaning, and then I say what it is that I want, which is to talk to him. Contrast "I'm up for a night out", where I do not perceive that I'm "up", and, in addition, it's "for" something. Instead, I'm "up for" (something), and then I say what it is that I'm up for. Similarly with "my car is up for sale": my car is not "up" and additionally "for" something". 14:02, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Your point seems to be that the "for ____" phrase is a mandatory complement; but regardless, it's still "up {for ____}", not "{up for} ____". —RuakhTALK 15:17, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
But want also has a mandatory complement (in other words, it's transitive), yet is claiming that he perceives it differently. Nonetheless, I tend to agree with Ruakh and DCDuring about this: this seems to be th sum of its parts, up and for, and should be redirected to up.​—msh210 (talk) 15:33, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, "want" has a mandatory complement in the same way that "up for" does, rather than (quite) in the same way that "up" does. Bringing up "want" was probably a bad idea on my part. —RuakhTALK 18:09, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree that theoretically one might -- just about -- be able to obtain the meanings of "up for" out of "up" and "for", but in practice "up for" is a single unit of meaning in the senses under discussion, in my opinion. I think the meanings under discussion are sufficiently idiomatic, and sufficiently difficult to figure out from "up" and "for", to warrant a separate entry. Contrast "What were you doing upstairs? / I went up for my coat" which is clearly sum-of-parts. 19:16, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I think the reason you can't separate the meanings in "I'm up for pizza" is that all of the meaning is provided by "up". "For" just serves a grammatical role: it introduces the complement (sense #11 at [[for#Preposition]]). And yes, "I went up for my coat" is sum-of-parts, because there "for my coat" is modifying "I went up". —RuakhTALK 18:18, 11 July 2011 (UTC)


When you say, "he's being held ransom" what part of speech is "ransom"? It seems to be acting unpredictably to me. ---> Tooironic 05:41, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

  • It's a noun – normally you'd say "held TO ransom", but sometimes the to gets elided. Ƿidsiþ 05:46, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
    • Yes, I suspected it might have been a case of ellipsis, but thought "held (as) random" was more likely. ---> Tooironic 10:26, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I always thought it was "for ransom". "For" precedes "ransom" 137 times out of the 209 times a preposition precedes "ransom" at COCA. DCDuring TALK 10:36, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I also say "for ransom", but ទំព័រគំរូ:user is transpondian; and the British National Corpus has maybe three times as many relevant instances of "to ransom" (59 total, as against 15 total, but more of the former than of the latter are irrelevant). —RuakhTALK 10:51, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
For me (BrE), "to" and "for" have different meanings here. If someone threatens something bad if I don't do what they demand, then I'm being "held to ransom". If I'm "held for ransom", it would be like someone kidnaps me and demands money for my release. 00:19, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh! In the U.S. "held for ransom" means exactly what it does for you, but the "held to ransom" sense doesn't exist at all. Could you edit [[ransom#Noun]] to add a sense explaining what "ransom" means in that case? —RuakhTALK 01:49, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The phrases "held prisoner" and "held captive" appear to be the same construction, right? Although it is not so clear that "captive" is a noun rather than an "adjective" in that phrase. --Dan Polansky 18:36, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Something I always wondered about is why you say 'they were told to come' in English. If you look at 'the stories were told', you notice there is something different. The story is the thing being told to someone, but 'they' are not being told to someone. Instead, something is being told to them. There are other verbs like this as well, like 'they were asked to come'. This is very strange from the perspective of other languages, because grammatically, it's actually an indirect object and not a subject. For example in Dutch you say 'hun was verteld' (them was told) which uses the object pronoun and a singular verb form. I think this difference warrants at least a usage note of some sort because it's not intuitive to people who haven't already learned this idiom. —CodeCat 14:19, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

It's not an idiom: it's a general rule of English grammar that an active-clause indirect object can be promoted to the subject of an passive clause. (In fact, direct-objects tend not to be so promoted when an indirect object is present: "the story was told them" is grammatical, but unusual: most speakers prefer "the story was told to them".) [[w:English passive voice#Promotion of other objects]] touches on this. —RuakhTALK 15:10, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Tell takes the listener of the story as a second direct object (tell me a story). Is that why the passive construction can be either they were told the story or the story was told them? (Compare the pen was given him and he was given the pen.) Would a verb that allows only a single direct and a single indirect object (like put, put the pen on the table) allow only the the direct object to be the subject of the passive (the pen was put on the table, not *the table was put the pen)? (Note: I seem to be using the terms direct object and indirect object differently from the way Ruakh does just above. By direct object I here mean an object that follows the verb without a preposition, and there can be more than one of them for a given verb. By indirect object I here mean an object following a preposition. This follows the use at [[w:indirect object]], though I don't know whether it follows general use. If you don't like my wording, ignore it and my question is still, I think, valid.)​—msh210 (talk) 15:44, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't consider 'on the table' an indirect object, I would call it a prepositional phrase whose part of speech is a locative adverb (since it can be replaced with 'there'). Such a replacement is not possible with indirect objects. I can't think of anything you could replace 'to him' with in 'give it to him'... except for just 'him'. That's what distinguishes object cases from adverbs, I think. —CodeCat 15:49, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree — but it's a bit tricky, because "give it to me" ≈ "give it here". Determining grammar by what-can-be-replaced-with-what is a good start, but imperfect. —RuakhTALK 18:07, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
@msh210: I think you're misreading [[w:Indirect object]]. It applies the term the same way that I do; its only nod to other uses is in that it has "non-prepositional indirect object" in few places for extra clarity. (Which is actually a problem with that article, since the way that I'm using the term is how it's applied to some languages, including English, but not how it's applied to some other languages, such as French and Spanish. When applied to those languages it refers to certain types of preposition-introduced objects, or to clitic pronouns that correspond to such. That's a bit more similar to your usage, but even for those languages sur la table or en la mesa would be considered an adverbial rather than an object.)
But to address your actual point — prepositional passives are much more restricted. Generally they can only be used when there's no direct object and when the prepositional object has in some way been affected by the action. (One example I've come across is, "this bed has been slept in" vs. *"this bed has been slept above". I think that's in CGEL, but don't quote me on that.)
RuakhTALK 18:07, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't really consider "this bed has been slept above" to be incorrect, though. I could say something like that and not think twice about it... —CodeCat 18:11, 8 July 2011 (UTC)


See [[w:Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language#Knockabout]].​—msh210 (talk) 17:19, 8 July 2011 (UTC) linkfix — lexicógrafa | háblame — 17:57, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

I took a run at this. See, especially knockabout#Noun. DCDuring TALK 22:57, 8 July 2011 (UTC)


Not all dictionaries show a "collective noun" sense for this. If they show a semantically distinct sense, they show it as "plural in construction". I find it hard to find instances of use that show a distinction. Can anyone point to instance of a collective noun sense that is clearly distinct from the plural of statistic? (BTW, I am not talking about the field of study or knowledge.) DCDuring TALK 21:55, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, it's interesting that dictionaries (e.g. Collins and M-W) show "statistics" in the "collection of numerical data" sense as a separate entry, just as Wiktionary does. To me it seems nothing more than the plural of "statistic". 02:47, 9 July 2011 (UTC)


The entry great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather is attestable through Google Books, I checked.

My question is: It is SOP? --Daniel 13:02, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

To me it seems that after great-great-great grandfather usage of all of them is more likely to be serial recoinage than lexical lookup. It's as if it were the principal of mathematical induction applied to language. If "great-grandfather" refer to a grandfather's father and "great-great-grandfather" refers his father, then "great" applied to one of a certain set of words characterizing ancestors refers to the immediate parent. DCDuring TALK 13:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
That seems to make such things compositional after the basis for the induction has been established. DCDuring TALK 13:51, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
It has a hyphen, so it wouldn't be a single term by our rules I think. -- Liliana 23:19, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

line up[កែប្រែ]

Noun should be lineup or line-up. Yeah I know we're descriptive, but almost all published books support this. A pity that the noun entry seems to be based there with the others as alternatives. Equinox 20:15, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

The noun definitely should be "lineup" or "line-up". Unfortunately very many people get this (and similar combinations) wrong. If we can't say it's "wrong" then some politically correct weasel words are presumably in order. 23:17, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

play it[កែប្រែ]

We have play it safe, play it cool, play it by ear. One can also play it "cooler", "smart(er)", "cute", "innocent", "cautious", "big", "close(r) to the vest", "straight", and otherwise.

We have senses at play#Verb that capture most of these senses if "it" is anaphoric or means "the situation", or "one's role in a situation". But "it" does not If we have the three entries "safe"/"cool"/"by ear", should we have all attestable collocations of the form "play it X"? Do we need an expansion of "it"? Do we need an entry for play it? This is not readily dismissed as a catchphrase-derived snowclone. DCDuring TALK 04:22, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

My two cents. These "play it ..." combinations seem open-ended, and I don't see how it's feasible to have separate entries for all of them. To me, it does not feel like "play it" is the relevant unit of meaning here. I think the meaning is in "play", but that the relevant sense of "play" should be marked as "often with it", or similar, or a new sense should be crafted specifically for this "play it ..." usage, and a couple of typical examples given. 23:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

sooner or later[កែប្រែ]

This expression is in Category:English set phrases. Many lexicographers find worth including the expression in their lexicons and the meaning "eventually" or "with a delay" is not really compositional. But is it a set phrase? There are lots of minor, not too common, variations on it, such as sooner rather than later, later or sooner, sooner if not later. Shouldn't the tag {{set phrase}} be reserved for expressions that allow for variation either not at all or perhaps with no attestable variation and no productive variation? (I include variation to include inflection.)

There are almost certainly more set phrases than are now in the category, but properly populating it requires some thought about criteria or at least our working definition of set phrase. DCDuring TALK 13:21, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

The general question no doubt has troublesome grey areas, but in my view "sooner or later" is unequivocally a "set phrase". 23:14, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
How do you feel about now and then? Equinox 23:25, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
As I think about it, any pair linked by "or" or "and" seems likely to be used sometimes in reverse order or with the other conjunction. For example, by hook or by crook can be varied as "by hook or crook", "by hook and crook", "by crook and by hook", "by hooks and by crooks", etc. I would expect to find more among adverbs and among phrases borrowed whole from other languages. It helps if the expression doesn't have grammar that a speaker of current English can understand or uses an archaic sense of at least one of its components. That is part of what makes a non-English phrase likely to be set for English speakers. Looking at Category:English adverbs A-C:
  1. at bay (what does bay mean that makes sense with at?). (*at loud bay, *at howl, *at bark)
  2. by and large (*large and by, *by or large)
all in all was already so tagged.
IOW, I don't think there are very many. To weaken criteria to make a quantitative relative-frequency standard seems to provide no particular benefit, except backward compatibility with the prior lists of set phrases that never faced testing against very large corpora. DCDuring TALK 01:18, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

clear as a preposition[កែប្រែ]

Sense 2 of the adverb lemma for clear (i.e., not near or touching something) is, I propose, a preposition. It is unlike adverbs in that it can appear as a complement of be, it can be modified by right, and it can stand as the complement of put, dart, and head (e.g., The would put them clear of town, both he and Luke had darted clear of the rampaging Wookie, and You need to be headed clear of the pass by 0630 and setting up 10-15 min later or you risk being too late.) These behaviours are limited to prepositions (or prepositional phrases).--Brett 02:00, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Does this sense require complementation by a PP headed by of? DCDuring TALK 02:49, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
It seems to.--Brett 11:02, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
There are a lot of instances of "very clear of weeds/books/rocks/faults/etc." also of "become|becomes|becoming|became clear of ice/snow/encumbrances". Would you be claiming that the PP is what is behaving as an adjective? If so, "clearer" (of "bush/ice/jungle") would also have to be a preposition. DCDuring TALK 13:09, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
@DCDuring: The complement is at least somewhat optional; consider “Cape Horn is the dividing line between the world’s two biggest oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Once we get clear we’ll go booming up the Pacific.” (That's one of four hits, all of them relevant, at ទំព័រគំរូ:b.g.c.; and that was the first search I tried, so I'm sure that plenty more examples could be found.) —RuakhTALK 13:14, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I think Brett would argue that such usage is of the zero preposition, which we would call an adverb. I was using "of" mostly to make it easier to find the sense. My native-English word-sense detector, aka English language intuition, has trouble locating other complements for this sense of "clear". i'll try COCA and BNC later. The assistance of other detectors/intuitions would be useful to generate more data and testable hypotheses. DCDuring TALK 13:35, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Right, right. I was just replying to your question above ("Does this sense require complementation by a PP headed by of?"), not commenting on your later searches. (By the way, "clear from" seems to have once been in widespread use as well, at least in nautical contexts, as in this quotation from 1902: “About this time it became so dark that we found it necessary to start up the electric lights, and it was not until after we got clear from the fog that we turned the current off.” [link] I'm not sure if that's still current; it doesn't sound wrong to me, but I would certainly never say it. And perhaps the sense was a bit different from how I am reading it.) —RuakhTALK 13:48, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Though the putative preposition would typically take an of PP complement, not all strings beginning with clear of are caught up in this. If an area is clear of weeds, or the air is clear of smoke, I think these are clearly adjectives. It is the sense of not near that I'm suggesting is relevant. In the area clear of weeds example, the target is the syntactical subject and the things that are now out of it are the object of of. In the sense I'm looking at, the things that were in the area are the subject and the target is the object of of. Sorry if that's kind of obtuse.--Brett 14:06, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm having trouble grasping the narrow specification that you are suggesting. It seems to include both intransitive senses of verbs ("head", "dart") and transitive ones ("put") (or is it only reflexive uses of transitive verbs?). Can the verbs be stative ("stand", "stay", "keep")? DCDuring TALK 15:11, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
It depends on the verb. "Keep" can take an object plus almost any predicative complement ("keep him happy", "keep him talking", "keep him in the room"), but without an object it's more restricted in its predicative complements (*"keep happy", "keep talking", *"keep in the room", though interestingly a few adjectives work, like "they stayed in the house to keep warm"). —RuakhTALK 15:47, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I brought up dart and head only because they require a PP complements (in their sense related to moving). The word put too, in the sense of placing something somewhere, requires a locative complement, which is almost always a PP. I would say that stand/stay/keep clear of the area is the same word. I realize that you can turn up examples of keep very clear of the area, but personally I find them questionable. Likely clear is in process of becoming a preposition, and has done so for some folks, but not for others.--Brett 17:07, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
If that is the case, then some positive evidence that some speakers use it with an NP and not just a PP headed by "of" would be suggestive. DCDuring TALK 17:20, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
@Brett 02:00, 12 July 2011: To me, the sense of clear with the def of "Not near something or touching it" and exemplified in "Stand clear of the rails, a train is coming" looks like an adverb. The characteristics or behaviors listed as non-adverb ones--"It is unlike adverbs in that it can appear as a complement of be, it can be modified by right, and it can stand as the complement of put, dart, and head (e.g., The would put them clear of town, both he and Luke had darted clear of the rampaging Wookie, and You need to be headed clear of the pass by 0630 and setting up 10-15 min later or you risk being too late.)"--do not appear as non-adverb ones to me: an adverb can appear as a complement of "be", "put", "head" etc. In "it is there", "there" is a complement of "be", right? In "Put it away", "away" is an adverb and a complement of "put", right? In "he headed west from the junction", "west" is an adverb, right? Modification by "right" is seen in "he stood right there", where "there" is an adverb, right? --Dan Polansky 18:23, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, Dan, the same arguments apply to all those. They are prepositions, not adjectives. Try to find a prototypical -ly adverb that fits those positions. The consensus here seems to be to reject prepositions that don't take NP complements, but I thought that the of PP complement for clear might qualify along the lines of out of.--Brett 19:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I thought that CGEL didn't favor "phrasal prepositions", instead positing PPs as object of simple prepositions and treating all prep-NP-prep expressions as "fossilized" idioms, whose fossilized structure they nevertheless analyze. I enjoy their syntactical analysis and categorization, but find it hard to justify imposing it on users here. In this case, there is evidence of "clear" retaining its adjectivity (for some speakers/writers) and not much evidence yet that it is a prototypical preposition for any speaker/writer.
Whether we should have a sense of clear#Adjective showing "of" as heading a mandatory complement or a separate clear of#Preposition I don't know, but "clear" seems to retain enough of its adjectivity for us to keep it there and improve the sense line for it. DCDuring TALK 20:58, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
* You are not really saying that "there" in "it is there" is a preposition, are you? As that is what I find implausible.
The part-of-speech of adverbs is a heterogeneous group of words, of which -ly adverbs are only one homogeneous subgroup. Specifications of location are another group of words and phrases classed as adverbs and adverbial phrases, including "here", "there", "at home", and "under the tree".
The analogy of "out of" being classed as preposition (prepositional phrase, but Wiktionary does not make this distinction) would lead to "clear of" (rather than "clear") being classed as preposition.
You seem to be saying that "clear"--in the discussed sense and use--could be a preposition that takes prepositional phrase complement ("PP complement"). Thus, "stand clear of the rails" would be parsed as "stand" + "clear" (preposition) + "of the rails" (PP complement); "stay away from school" would be parsed as "steer" + "away" (preposition) + "from school" (PP complement). This seems rather unusual or original to me. OneLook dictionaries have neither "clear" nor "away" as prepositions. Nor does it fit my intuition about prepositions. I am not saying that this way of parsing and the corresponding notions of "adverb" and "preposition" are wrong, but they seem to be different from those notions of "adverb" and "preposition" that are used in most dictionaries. --Dan Polansky 22:10, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
· You have correctly understood the system that Brett is working in. So far as I'm aware, no dictionary other than the Simple English Wiktionary uses that system, but I believe it's the mainstream view among experts in English syntax. The idea is that, just as different verbs take different complement patterns (or no complement at all) while still being "verbs", different prepositions take different complement patterns (or no complement at all) while still being prepositions. The common factor is that they head phrases that functional syntactically as prepositional phrases. (In the case of there, "there" itself is the entire prepositional phrase.) It's a very compelling and elegant analysis, but has the disadvantage of diverging significantly from the traditional grammar assumed by most dictionaries.
· That said, other dictionaries do have a slightly more nuanced view of prepositions than simply requiring that they always take a noun or noun-like complement. For example, one of the OED's senses for the preposition from is “Used in certain of the above senses (esp. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10) with an adverb or a phrase (prep. + n. or pron.) as object”, with some subsenses; but in the obsolete use whereby it has no complement at all, the OED considers it an adverb, and in the obsolete use whereby its complement is an entire finite clause, the OED considers it a conjunction. Both of those would still be preposition uses under the classification that Brett espouses.
RuakhTALK 22:39, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way, a minor terminological quibble: even by traditional grammar, out of is not a "prepositional phrase", but rather a "compound preposition" (or "phrasal preposition"). A prepositional phrase would be something like out of the woods: a phrase consisting of a preposition together with its complement (its object). —RuakhTALK 01:04, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
So the question is not whether "clear" is really a preposition but rather whether Wiktionary should switch to a system of classification and parsing that classes as prepositions "clear", "away", "west" and some other words traditionally classed as adverbs. It is unclear to me what part of speech the system assigns to "there"--is "prepositional phrase" a part of speech in that framework? It would be good to have a hyperlink or two to scholarly expositions of that system, so it can be critically discussed. If we have an exposition to which we can refer, we can verify that the system allows prepositions to take prepositional phrase complements, that it really ranks "clear", "away", "west", etc. as prepositions, and that it really requires of adverbs that they never complement the copula "be".
My mistake: "out of" is not a "prepositional phrase". I make this mistake again and again, by unconsciously drawing a false analogy between "prepositional phrase" and "noun phrase": "prepositional phrase" is not a phrase that takes places of prepositions, while "noun phrase" is a phrase that takes places of nouns. --Dan Polansky 08:04, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Re: there: It's a preposition, and since it takes no complement, it's also a complete 'preposition phrase' (i.e. prepositional phrase). A phrase like "in Europe" is also a complete 'preposition phrase', headed by "in". Much of what makes this analysis so compelling is that 'preposition phrases' really do behave like each other, and unlike normal adjectives and adverbs; so a preposition is any word that heads preposition phrases, even if its complement is a clause or another preposition phrase or if it has no complement at all — and even if it actually follows its complement, as in "three days ago". Another thing that makes it so compelling is that most 'prepositions' can take multiple different complement patterns (just as how most transitive verbs can also be intransitive); traditional grammar is forced to say that most prepositions double as adjectives, adverbs, and/or conjunctions, even though they differ from normal adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions in various ways. —RuakhTALK 11:57, 13 July 2011 (UTC)


The conjugation table is messed up. Could someone knowledgeable fix that up? Thanks. Wyverald 04:42, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

ler, reler, treler, tresler, rer, arrer are irregular Portuguese verbs and no template has been made for them yet. Can’t use any of the existing templates. They are almost the same as crer, but the crer template won’t work for ler. —Stephen (Talk) 08:10, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I think I've set up a correct template for Portuguese ler, but it needs to be double-checked. I had to guess at the imperatives. I didn't see any ending differences between crer and ler, which would be the same situation as in Galiain and wouldn't surprise me, but it was less work to start a new template. The two tempates still could be combined with only a little more effort, if indeed the endings all match between the two verbs. --EncycloPetey 05:30, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


How do we define "publicly" in "publicly-owned"? Is it really being used as an adverb here? If so, the first sense currently at publicly does not cover it, since the meaning is more like "owned by the public/the state". ---> Tooironic 05:14, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

  • I've made a stab at it. SemperBlotto 06:56, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Hi guys ! Do you think this word exists in english ? --ArséniureDeGallium 23:36, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it's apparently a heraldry term: see http://books.google.com/books?id=-tFsAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA45&dq=lioncelle. (That's an out-of-copyright dictionary, so we can just take its definition verbatim if we want.) T.H. White's The Once and Future King seems to treat it as the feminine of lioncel, which gives it the same general sense but with a slight twist. I'll see about creating an entry. —RuakhTALK 23:55, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I created the word on fr: just after you did it here (but I didn't find a french equivalent for heraldry term - sad). --ArséniureDeGallium 21:52, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

ye gods and little fishes[កែប្រែ]

Meets CFI? - Amgine/talk 05:09, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


What are the Cantonese romanizations for this word? Jyutping could be nice here since I'm trying to straightening things up with the Cantonese nouns category. (It might be off-topic and optional, but here's one romanization system that I found interesting here [១៦]; I don't know if it's for Hong Kong Cantonese or Guangdong Cantonese.) --Lo Ximiendo 05:13, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


Are we missing the sense, as in, someone asks you at a bar what you want to drink and you reply, "the usual". Is that a noun usage or something else? ---> Tooironic 15:27, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Or "I'll have my usual." or "My usual is whatever is on tap." or "I'll have a glass of my usual."

I was completely convinced that this was merely an example of a fused-modifier-head construction until I found usuals (raw bgc count 1300+), even itself modified by determiners. I am not certain, however, that pluralization is a sufficient warrant to make it a noun. DCDuring TALK 16:37, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Any evidence it's not one?​—msh210 (talk) 18:05, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I just have never thought about this in general nor dealt with the facts about what fusible adjectives can do. Nor does CGEL have specific criteria for this. DCDuring TALK 19:26, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Other dictionaries have a noun sense (our wonderful "lemming test"). - -sche (discuss) 06:18, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
We include much worse than this. I just wish I understood the principle behind this. A similar entry is [[fallen#Noun]]. DCDuring TALK 13:13, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

brotherly love[កែប្រែ]

Does anyone know what sense of agape is being referred to here? There are so many different meanings. ---> Tooironic 06:27, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

It’s ἀγάπη (agapē), etymology 2. —Stephen (Talk) 06:40, 15 July 2011 (UTC)


Within living memory US TV policemen referred to white people as Caucasian - so dated rather than archaic would be more appropriate? —Saltmarshtalk-συζήτηση 10:44, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

  • I've heard this usage recently - so not even dated. SemperBlotto 10:52, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
It might be worth a usage note, as context tags don't capture it. Some of the current usage in books seems more mentiony or historical, but there is plenty that seems current. If we had a tag, it would be "politically incorrect", which also wouldn't capture it, besides being a stirrer of controversy itself. DCDuring TALK 11:15, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I've added a link to w:Historical race concepts, but a usage note seems necessary. DCDuring TALK 11:19, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Fixed: I've added the current sense. (We already had both senses in the ===Noun=== section, but for some reason the ===Adjective=== section only had the archaic anthropology sense.) —RuakhTALK 11:27, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

oque (French)[កែប្រែ]

Someone has added oques as the plural of the French noun oque. There is such a word defined on French Wiktionary, but I can't figure out the English translation. Any ideas? SemperBlotto 21:22, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

It's not one of these, is it? The "1250 grammes" says probably not. [១៧] Equinox 21:27, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
The TLFi entry is a bit more helpful in some respects than fr.wikt's; using info from there, it's easy to track down [[w:Oka (mass)]] (which, I should mention, we do have an entry for: [[oka#English]]). —RuakhTALK 21:41, 17 July 2011 (UTC)


A loan from German, but still capitalised in every source I can find. [១៨] Should it be moved to the capitalised form? Equinox 23:11, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Funnily enough, the only lowercase hits on b.g.c. seem to be in century-old German (e.g. here). Were German nouns not capitalized back then? —RuakhTALK 00:10, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it was the opposite. Not just German but many other languages capitalized nouns once. I think English did too at one stage. —CodeCat 00:12, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
People say that, but I don't think it's true. If you look at old English documents — say, from the 1500s, 1600, and 1700s — you'll find lots of nouns that are capitalized for no apparent reason; but you'll also find tons of nouns that aren't capitalized. Opening a facsimile edition of Shakespeare's First Folio (1623) on b.g.c., and scrolling to a random page (page 167, in The Merchant of Venice, as it turns out), I find stuff like this: “A pound of mans fleſh taken from a man, / Is not ſo eſtimable,profitable neither / As fleſh of Muttons,Beefes,or Goates,I ſay / To buy his fauour,I extend this friendſhip, / [] ” To English-speakers today, of course, the capitalization in “Muttons,Beefes,or Goates” stands out much more than the non-capitalization in “pound of mans fleſh taken from a man”; but a German-speaker would not find the First Folio's capitalization familiar. And likewise for other documents; personally, I have never seen don't remember ever seeing an English document, be it manuscript or printed, that capitalized even a large majority of nouns. —RuakhTALK 00:37, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I think that practice only really started much later, in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wikipedia mentions: This was also the practice in Danish before a spelling reform in 1948. It was also done in 18th century English (as with Gulliver's Travels and most of the original 1787 United States Constitution). —CodeCat 00:45, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
The Constitution actually still leaves a lot of nouns in lowercase, but re-looking at it now, yeah, it capitalizes a lot more than I had remembered. The first editions of Gulliver's Travels seem to be more consistent; it takes some looking to find any uncapitalized nouns in them (though there are some). Thanks for the correction on that point. But regardless, it wasn't a general convention in 18th-century English: choose a noun and search Google Books for instances of it from that time period, and you'll find plenty of works that don't capitalize it. Which is really the point: when I wrote "Were German nouns not capitalized back then?", I obviously didn't mean "Were German nouns never capitalized back then?", but rather "Were German nouns not always capitalized back then?" Because nowadays, German works are really quite consistent in capitalizing nouns, and my understanding is that it would be very strange to find a book published in 2011 that didn't capitalize all nouns; but I was thinking that this consistency might be a relatively new thing, with it having been normal in 1908 to find works that used more English-like capitalization. —RuakhTALK 17:15, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Capitalisation of nouns (w:de:Großschreibung) has been the standard in German since the Baroque era. I would venture a guess that works — particularly recent ones, and 1908 is recent — that use lowercase nouns (w:de:Kleinschreibung) almost always do so as a conscious expression of the (quasi-)political position that capitalisation is undesirable; the Brothers Grimm and the Wiener Gruppe, for example, held this position, the brothers calling it pedantry and the group asserting that it made nouns improperly superior to verbs. Before the Baroque era there was the same haphazard capitalisation as in the U.S. Constitution. - -sche (discuss) 06:13, 21 July 2011 (UTC)


Hello, The meaning given here is false. Anaullaut means bat but the second sense that is to say a club used in several sports and games. Not at all the animal. One ref. here :[[១៩]] The animal is normally ᐅᓐᓄᐊᕐᓯᐅᑦ/unnuarsiut (that is found at night) but as I can't find a serious reference I prefer forget it for the moment. If somebody could make the change since I am not used of this wiki. Thanks a lot. Unsui 14:52, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! I've edited the def to make that clear. —RuakhTALK 17:01, 18 July 2011 (UTC)


This is related to #oque above: our values for the oka are very different from those given by Wikipedia (at w:Oka (mass)), various English dictionaries (at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/oka, and at http://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/130926) and the TLFi (for French oque, at http://www.cnrtl.fr/lexicographie/oque). TLFi's etymology gives a hint as to what is going on:

> Empr. au turc oka, mesure de poids valant environ 1,280 kg, lui-même empr. à l'ar. uqqa, même sens (et non à l'ar. ūqiyya, qui désigne un poids six fois moindre), lequel est []

> Borrowed from Turkish oka, measure of weight equaling approximately 1.280 kg, itself borrowed from Arabic uqqa, same sense (and not from Arabic ūqiyya, which denoted a weight six times smaller), which is []

(and the OED has a somewhat similar comment, but phrased less boldly); so our definitions for oka are apparently based on that Arabic ūqiyya. But I don't know if this is an error on our part, or what. I could well believe that French oque and English oka are both used in both ways, and we're simply missing some senses; but I don't actually see any evidence of that. We seem to be the only ones giving such low values for the oka. Anyone have any thoughts?

RuakhTALK 17:44, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Never mind, it's been clarified now. —RuakhTALK 02:22, 19 July 2011 (UTC)


Isn't this missing a sense? When you get really angry, and someone teases you, you also explode, but this doesn't mean you burst into thousands of pieces. -- Liliana 01:47, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

on a regular basis, on an irregular basis[កែប្រែ]

How idiomatic are these, really? Equally or more common are on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, on a yearly basis, on a part-time basis, on a full-time basis. Equinox 18:48, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

From a decoding perspective, which I think is the only practical one, they seem wholly NISoP, given a good unabridged dictionary's definition of basis.
From an encoding perspective, which might apply to, say, a phrasebook, they are simply wordier substitutes for regularly and irregularly, so little is missed if they are not shown. OTOH, on a regular basis appears in WordNet, the most inclusive of collocations among OneLook lexicographic references, and those who copy from it. "On a regular" and "basis" have a mutual information score of more than 13, though there are individual words with a higher MI score than "basis" with "regular" alone. DCDuring TALK 19:26, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
"on a regular basis" is probably just about acceptable. However, I can honestly say that I have never heard anybody use the phrase "on an irregular basis" and can't understand why anyone ever would. BigDom 20:52, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think either is idiomatic as a phrase. Consider:
  • on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, ...
  • on a regular schedule, at a regular time, in a regular fashion, ...
Given these close variants with different vocabulary, I don't see that idiomaticity can be supported. --EncycloPetey 20:58, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

stand (to)[កែប្រែ]

Are we missing the sense, as in, "you wouldn't be answering the question and you stand to lose marks"? ---> Tooironic 04:37, 20 July 2011 (UTC)


Sense: "Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 25: The parameter "sub" is not used by this template.. To emit from the bowels." But one can pass a kidney stone (in his urine). I assume that's the same sense; does anyone know for certain? If so, how would we reword this?​—msh210 (talk) 16:35, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

One can even pass urine (not just kidney stones in urine). Perhaps "to emit from the excretory system"? Also, note "(intransitive) To go through the intestines. (John Arbuthnot)", which I've just moved to be beside the related sense we're discussing. - -sche (discuss) 05:41, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I think we want to keep specifics about the mechanism out of our definition, if we can. Could "pass" be applied to elimination from the body by perspiration or respiration? Why exclude such unnecessarily? How about: "(intransitive) To be voided from the body."; "(transitive) To void from the body."? I know that using "void" in the definition is not ideal, but "pass" is the most basic word for the phenomenon. Would "eliminate" be better than "void"? Should "by natural processes" be added? DCDuring TALK 11:51, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
"To excrete"? Ƿidsiþ 12:08, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Does "passing gas" count as excretion? —RuakhTALK 15:05, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Well to me "excrete" means simply that it's coming out of the body -- but maybe I'm in a minority there. Ƿidsiþ 15:08, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
You're probably right. I'd thought it specifically referred to fecal matter and urine and such, but some other dictionaries explicitly mention sweat and carbon dioxide as possible excretions. (Hey, does that mean I can refer to exhaled breath as "excrement"?) The only common factor seems to be that it's some sort of waste product or non-useful material; so I guess we don't "excrete" blood from a wound, but aside from that . . . —RuakhTALK 15:16, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
In Shakespeare, beards and other kinds of hair are referred to as "excrement". Classic English-class snigger material. Ƿidsiþ 15:21, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Though writers rarely have "pass sweat", here are some quotes suggesting that "pass" has been used for what is excreted in sweat:
I took a run at replacement wording and usexes. DCDuring TALK 17:19, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
It now reads "Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 25: The parameter "sub" is not used by this template.. To eliminate from the body by natural processes.". I've now deleted the sense (still worded as it was when I started this discussion) that's now duplicated by that new one. Also, we should drop the ទំព័រគំរូ:medicine tag, no? It's used in everyday language, not only in medicine.​—msh210 (talk) 17:24, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't know. I think "pass water/gas/a fart/wind/stool(?)" are euphemisms in general use, whereas "pass X" in some excretum or with none specified seems more medical. OTOH, the usexes certainly don't seem technical or hard to understand by normal folks. On a third hand, a review of "[have] blood in * stool" vs. "[pass] blood in * stool" yields mostly medical books for the latter, a broader selection of works for the former. DCDuring TALK 18:03, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

reverse definition request: door that opens both ways[កែប្រែ]

What's a door that opens both into the area it affords access to on one side and into the area it affords access to on the other called, please? (I thought it was swinging door, but Google implies that that means a door that operates on hinges, as contrasted with, say, a sliding door.)​—msh210 (talk) 18:30, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't really understand, how can a sliding door open both ways, or even any way but 'sideways'? Or do you mean that you can slide the door either to the left or the right? —CodeCat 18:39, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
I meant a door on hinges, not a sliding one.​—msh210 (talk) 21:07, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
I would say it was a swing door. I have never head of swinging door. SemperBlotto 18:42, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Some other dictionaries have swing door and swinging door, usually both. Apparently the interior design/construction trade sometimes call this a pivot door also. This may be limited to one type of door-hanging (ie, a pivot). There are also double hinges that achieve the same basic result. The vocabulary also seems to include double-action, as in double-action door (which seems NISoP to me). DCDuring TALK 19:33, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
swinging door seems NISoP, but the Pawley we-call-it-an-X/they-call-it-a-Y principle and the lemming principle would suggest both should be included. double-hinged door is also to be found. DCDuring TALK 19:41, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Swing door also ទំព័រគំរូ:google to mean just a door on hinges (as contrasted with, say, a sliding door). Thank you both for your replies.​—msh210 (talk) 21:07, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
I see what you mean. It seems as if there are all sorts of combinations of meaning. In commercial and institutional buildings and public spaces (including lobbies) the universe of possibilities seems to include revolving doors and air-curtain doors that have little application in residences, as well as sliding doors. In those cases "swing door", meaning a door that swings open, seems to be a meaningful contrast. OTOH, in my home all doors (except the garage door) are swing doors in that sense, but to me they are all just doors, with the single exception of the "swinging door" (a "pivot door") between the kitchen and the dining room. I think we don't know enough to nail this down beyond the definitions that other dictionaries have and we can also verify. DCDuring TALK 00:55, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Some images of swinging doors: swinging doors —Stephen (Talk) 01:30, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. If seems that, when a double-swing door is the main topic, it is called a swinging door. But when another type of door, say, a pocket door, is the subject, then "swinging door" could refer to a conventional hinged door without a double swing. Also, they are sometimes called two-way doors. DCDuring TALK 03:03, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

pay TV[កែប្រែ]

US English? It's commonly used in Australia, at least. ---> Tooironic 08:42, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Doubt it's US only, I've heard it a lot in continental Europe. -- Liliana 00:48, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
They don't speak English in continental Europe. Ƿidsiþ 11:16, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Well anyway, I'm removing the US English tag. ---> Tooironic 00:34, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

hello, herro[កែប្រែ]

I've occasionally heard the response "He-llo!" or "He-rro!" (first syllable distinctly higher pitched) to certain kinds of joke, possibly bad puns or something of the kind. Does anyone know about the origin of, and reasons for, this? Equinox 11:19, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

extra pair of hands[កែប្រែ]

I feel this is an unnecessarily specific entry, and we should have instead pair of hands to indicate a person who can do work. Consider "it would at any rate be another pair of hands in the rectory" (1863), "they needed a second pair of hands" (1997). Equinox 02:52, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

I think the main question is whether this kind of synecdochy merits any entry at all.
But, to the question at hand: At COCA, pair of hands occurs 127 times and extra pair of hands 16 times. "A pair of hands" occurs 56 times. Of the 56, only 6 or so clearly show synecdochy. Many of the other instances refer to the parts of a person that merits attention, which seems to me different ("Suddenly a pair of hands grasped my neck."). The six are instances like "I am just a pair of hands to him.". Of the 16 instances of "extra pair of hands", perhaps half are synecdochy. "Another pair of hands" is similar. There are many instances of "[det|art] pair(s) of [adj] hands" (eg, "pair of skilled hands") and "[det|art] [adj] pair(s) of hands" (eg, "skilled pair of hands"). If this is to be included at all, pair of hands allows better for the variety of forms, but itself has a low frequency of synecdochic use.
What struck me in reviewing the instances are the multiplicity and ambiguity of the referent, even when the synechochy is clear. Sometimes the expression refers to any kind help afforded by another person; sometimes limited to dogsbody-type help; sometimes to something specific like assistance in holding something. Often it is ambiguous which kind of help is referred to. Further, the synecdochy itself is often ambiguous. The obvious fact is that hands not attached to a normal adult human are not useful. Sometimes the imagery seems to be that a given human is to simply grow an additional pair of hands. All of this makes it seem to me that we are dealing with a live metaphor, not the kind of dead one that makes for an entry in the lexicon. DCDuring TALK 09:51, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd agree with pair of hands with suitable redirects, then explaining the common collocations using usage notes or perhaps even citations, then a reader who follows a redirect will understand why the redirect is there. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:12, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

sign on[កែប្រែ]

Sense: To sign on for the dole.

What does this mean: apply for? Is it UK usage? Dated? Transitive? Is it justified in being distinct from other senses? Usage examples? DCDuring TALK 16:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

It's UK usage, I first came across this strange expression in a British TV show. I've fixed it now. It's definitely a distinct sense. ---> Tooironic 23:09, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you have to sign to confirm that you are actively looking for employment before you can receive unemployment benefit (been there, done that). SemperBlotto 06:52, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

cost (verb)[កែប្រែ]

We have the 3rd person singular present tense of this verb as cost. This sounds wrong to me (it should be costs). Is this an Americanism? SemperBlotto 08:07, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Not any more for this than any other verb. In some AAVE and other dialectal speech, the inflectional "s" gets dropped. "How much dis cost?" DCDuring TALK 12:20, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I see. The contributor is confused on the difference between nouns and verbs and further that the past and base are the same for "cost". DCDuring TALK 12:28, 26 July 2011 (UTC)


Definition #1 could be improved - limber is not a common word and is probably irrelevant. I would suggest "A piece of fabric attached along one edge to a garment" or similar? —Saltmarshtalk-συζήτηση 19:32, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Not irrelevant: "flexible" (nearly 25 times more common than "limber"). The difference, IMO, between sense 1 and 2 is principally the inflexibility in 2. Also, rigid wings don't flap and rigid flaps don't make flapping noises. DCDuring TALK 20:12, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Britain and Ireland[កែប្រែ]

I was directed here from Lilian's talk page (where there is some detail on the back story).

The entry, "Britain and Ireland", was deleted a few days ago. The entry was as a synonym to British Isles and it was deleted mainly on the basis that it was a sum of parts. Ironically, some opposition to the term - including some voiced during the RFD here - is precicely because it is not a sum of parts i.e. that the British Isles contain places that are not Britian or Ireland (and that are not part of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland).

I don't simply want to re-create the article. However, below are some examples of use that explicitly cite it as synonym to Brtish Isles and even creede it as "the more favoured expression" nowadays:

"Some of the Irish dislike the 'British' in 'British Isles', while a minority of the Welsh and Scottish are not keen on 'Great Britain'. … In response to these difficulties, 'Britain and Ireland' is becoming preferred official usage if not in the vernacular, although there is a growing trend amongst some critics to refer to Britain and Ireland as 'the archipelago'." (Davies, Alistair; Sinfield, Alan (2000), British Culture of the Postwar: An Introduction to Literature and Society, 1945-1999, Routledge, p. 9, ISBN 0415128110)

"At the outset, it should be stated that while the expression 'The British Isles' is evidently still commonly employed, its intermittent use throughout this work is only in the geographic sense, in so far as that is acceptable. Since the early twentieth century, that nomenclature has been regarded by some as increasingly less usable. It has been perceived as cloaking the idea of a 'greater England', or an extended south-eastern English imperium, under a common Crown since 1603 onwards. … Nowadays, however, 'Britain and Ireland' is the more favoured expression, though there are problems with that too. … There is no consensus on the matter, inevitably. It is unlikely that the ultimate in non-partisanship that has recently appeared the (East) 'Atlantic Archipelago' will have any appeal beyond captious scholars." (Hazlett, Ian (2003). The Reformation in Britain and Ireland: an introduction. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 17. ISBN 9780567082800.)

More citations are possible, if desired. Are these sufficient to re-create the article? --Rannpháirtí anaithnid 07:54, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

We prefer citations in which the term is used naturally, not talked about (we say "used, not mentioned"). Typically that means it should not be within quotation marks. SemperBlotto 15:44, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Use of the term is very common. However, since the islands of Britain and Ireland dominate the archipelago, if the sources are to use the term "naturally", but avoid accusation of "sum of arms", it is necessary to cite sources that give places that are not part of Britain or Ireland as part of 'Britain and Ireland' (if you follow).
The sources below refer to the Isle of Man and/or the Channel Islands as being part of 'Britain and Ireland'. Neither the Isle of Man nor the Channel Islands are part of Britain or Ireland (or part of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland). Similarly, the Orkneys and Shetland are not part of island of Britain (though they are a part of the United Kingdom).

"In this system, Britain and Ireland are divided into numbered vice-counties (usually abbreviated 'v.c.'s'), of which there are 113 for England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands, and 40 for Ireland. The vice-counties are based on present or former county divisions of Britain and Ireland.
The base-map used retains all parts of Britain and Ireland covered in this book (including Ireland, Orkney, Shetland and the Channel Islands) in their correct relative geographic positions." (Christopher Nigel Page, The Ferns of Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press, 1997, page 19 and page 29)

"A remarkable range of Precambrain rocks forms the basement geology to Britain and Ireland. This basement is exposed widely from the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands and from central England to the west coat of Ireland (Figs. 1 & 2). The best and most extensive exposed outcrops occur across the highlands of Scotland, with other notable occurrences in north and west Ireland, northwest Wales, and the Channel islands." (Anthony Leonard Harris, Wes Gibbons (ed.s), A revised correlation of Precambrian rocks in the British Isles, Special Report No. 22, , The Geological Society, 1994, page 1)

"Great Britain and Ireland ('the British Isles' or 'Britain and Ireland') lie at the wester edge of the Palearctic, roughly between 50° and 62°N and between 10°W and 4°E. There are over 6,000 islands in the archipelago … Other significant large islands include the Isle of Man and Anglesey in the Irish Sea …
Politically, there are three main administrative units. In order of size, these are the United Kingdom of Great Britain Northern Ireland; the Republic of Ireland; and the Isle of Man. … The human population of Britain and Ireland is approximately 65 million, most heavily concentrated in urban areas in the south and east of England.
… The Channel Islands lie near the shores of France and their zoological and ornithological affinities are closer to that country; they are not considered here." (David T. Parkin and Alan G. Knox, The Status of Birds in Britain and Ireland, Bloomsbury, 2010, page 8)

Personally, I would suggest giving at least one cite that describes use of the term in the entry (as well as a one that shows "natural" use of it). I can give other examples (of both natural use and discussion of the term), if the ones above are insufficient. --Rannpháirtí anaithnid 17:49, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

For anyone unaware, this is spill-over of a very long-running and quite amazingly bitter and vicious dispute on Wikipedia. I sincerely hope that this does not become yet another front in this war. Dingo1729 18:20, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

We have different criteria than Wikipedia. The term doesn't have to be preferred, established, or even "correct", but it does have to be in use and, in this case especially, in use in an idiomatic sense. DAVilla 04:55, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I haven't seen any evidence that this exists to mean British Isles. This failed RFD, occasionally RFD results get overturned in the face of evidence, but in this case I'm not aware of any evidence. Perhaps other editors disagree with me. If they do, let them say so here. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:29, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the above quotations in which the term is not in quotation marks are simple "sum of parts". We could find similar quotes for "France and Italy". SemperBlotto 18:58, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
@Dingo1729, unfortunately you're correct. I gave some of the background on Lilian's talk page.
@Mglovesfun, citations above explicitly state that the term exists and means British Isles. What kind of evidence do you need? Here are further cites to demonstrate the point:

"European integration has made it possible to consider the question of sovereignty in other than zero-sum terms, in which a gain for one community automatically constitutes a loss for the other. That is reflected in the Good Friday Agreement's promotion of both closer ties within the British Isles (or Britain and Ireland, in nationalist language) and between the two parts of Ireland." (Adrian Guelke, Global Disorder: Political Violence in the Contemporary World, 2006, page 238 (Taurus))

"The term 'British Isles' is controversial, especially to many people in Ireland. The Irish government actually discourages the use of the term. The preferred description is 'Britain and Ireland', which is more politically correct." (George Morg, How to Do Everything Genealogy, 2009, page 130 (McGraw Hill Professional))

@SemperBlotto, the quotations above, where the term is not used in quotations, are more than a "sum of parts" (i.e. the term is used to include places that are neither Britain or Ireland). In particular the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Orkneys and the Shetlands are described as being part of Britain and Ireland. These places, in particular Mann and the Channel Islands, are not part of Britain or Ireland (indeed the Channel Islands are closer to France). Ironically, others who oppose the term do so because (they say) it cannot include these places for this reason and so cannot mean the same as British Isles.
On a general point, what kind of evidence (quotes, etc.) would be suitable? The term is in such widespread use that I'm confident I can provide what ever evidence is necessary. --Rannpháirtí anaithnid 21:12, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

To put it another way, the matter is what is meant by the expression. What the sources above demonstrate is a sense is in which the expression is idiomatic (per the CFI). Whereas Britain and Ireland as separate words simply mean Britain and Ireland, in the sense given in the sources above it means Britain, Ireland, the Orkneys, Shetland, the Isle of Man and (according to some uses) the Channel Islands i.e. the British Isles. This is also exactly what the sources that "talk about" the expression say it can mean. Additionally, the matter of attestation (per the CFI) for this use is met and further examples can be provided. --Rannpháirtí anaithnid 23:26, 27 July 2011 (UTC)


Wiktionary and Wikipedia both have articles on this word. The OED does not. The word is not used by mathematicians (they would call it a star heptagon), though it is included in Mathworld. There is usage on the web in the context of New Age or occult symbols. The word is an obvious parallel construction similar to pentagram, but what is the Wiktionary policy on a word like this, which certainly has some recent usage, but is not an established word in the sense of being in use in books or by scholars? Is this the correct forum to ask this question or should I have posted somewhere else? Dingo1729 18:11, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

This is absolutely the correct forum. See WT:CFI#Attestation. It could perhaps be glossed as {{nonstandard}} or just indicated under usage notes that other names are more common. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:31, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Looking through the Google Books hits from 2001–2011, it's true that there are a lot of magicky/mystical/New-Agey hits, but there are also plenty of hits in pop-math books and even not-so-pop math books. And even among the mystical hits, a fair number are by people who don't actually seem to buy into the mysticism, but are just using it as a neutral term for the mystical symbol (just like how you don't have to be a Taoist to use the term "yin-yang"). —RuakhTALK 01:15, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I think I was too negative when I looked at the word first. I now see references back to Aleister Crowley in the early part of the 20th century. I suspect, though I'm not sure, that he invented the word. He, of course claimed occult and magic significance for the heptagram. After that it seems to have spread in occult circles and gradually came to be used without the occult connotation and is now appearing in subjects like "How to fold a paper heptagram". I've seen claims of it being an ancient christian symbol, but I'm very suspicious of that. Did you find anything before the 20th century for either the word or the symbol? I think that finding it wasn't in the big OED made me think it wasn't a real word. Dingo1729 03:50, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I guess you don't have the entry watchlisted? Before I added my comment here, I had added a few quotations that answer several of your questions. As for its being an ancient Christian symbol — well, I think that's somewhat outside of scope for a dictionary (we generally deal in words rather than symbols), but I think you're right to be suspicious. A search on b.g.c. for relatively early uses of the phrase "seven-pointed star" turns up this hit — a Freemason, writing in May 1844, complaining about the use of a seven-pointed star as though it were an ancient symbol (which, he maintains, it is not; kind of an odd thing to argue over, since that a great deal of Masonic symbolism is modernity dressed up as antiquity, but there you have it). In view of Crowley's quasi-Masonic connections, I think it may be more than coincidence that the symbol found its way into his legacy. —RuakhTALK 12:02, 31 July 2011 (UTC)


This is listed as a Mandarin adverb, but is translated into English as an adjective. While not impossible, this is unusual. Is it correct? --EncycloPetey 23:26, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

The definition has been amended. 04:26, 31 July 2011 (UTC)


We have what seem like an arbitrary subset of seven of the verb senses that correspond to the senses of deep#Adjective. There is no limit AFAICT on the number of senses of deep to which a verb sense might not correspond. Why do we need to maintain the match of senses? Most dictionaries have two lines (trans & intrans) or one. Some learners dictionaries, COBUILD and Macmillan, have a limited number of senses, 4 and 7, respectively. If we had the 24 senses of deep#Adjective that MWOnline has or whatever number the OED has, the foolishness of our current approach would be obvious. Is this really the best way to help learners? Why not just have usage examples (which we do not, but Macmillan and COBUILD do)? DCDuring TALK 18:20, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree, there's no need to rehash all the possible meanings of "deep". Essentially all that's needed is "make/become deep(er)" plus some examples. 23:49, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm always torn about words like this. Clearly the meaning of "deepen" in "his voice deepened" is not the same as the meaning of "deepen" in "the water deepened as she waded further"; both can (and should!) be glossed as "to become deeper", but how are synonyms, antonyms, translations, etc. supposed to work? I think a good approach might be to have two main senses, “ទំព័រគំរូ:intransitive To become deeper” and “Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 25: The parameter "sub" is not used by this template.. to make (something) deeper”, and a relatively small group of important specific uses could be given either as subsenses, or else as their own senses but tagged with {{context|specifically}}. —RuakhTALK 00:02, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
But the non-English words that link to [[deepen]] seem to have just the one-word gloss "deepen". Are such metaphors universals that translate perfectly to many languages? I suppose we won't know that a priori. If we are to keep all the senses, then we should get about the business of adding {{rfdef}} to get the senses that MWOnline has for "deep#Adjective" that we lack so we can add all the missing senses to deepen. This "all words in all languages" business has a lot of costs to it. DCDuring TALK 00:39, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Just as we do not decide RFD matters this basis, the granularity of meaning should not rely on concepts and translations in other languages. We know that these senses as Ruakh has laid out are distinct because they are distinguished at deep. In my opinion they should be enumerated at deepen as well. I do not take into account how precise or imprecise the translations would be. In my experience the foreign language entries here are much more generalized than those in English anyway, and not nearly as complete as dictionaries in that language illustrate the subtleties to be. DAVilla 04:44, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Let's actually implement this, then, for this one entry. We can put in some trreqs to test out the whole concept. Unless there already is some adjective/verb pairing that illustrates a high degree of completeness relative to competing dictionaries. DCDuring TALK 11:20, 31 July 2011 (UTC)


Do Polari and UK with similar senses require different sense lines? Same ety for both? DCDuring TALK 19:58, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Is there an intentional point being made that in Polari it can also mean a non-alcoholic beverage, or is that just accidental? AFAIAA the normal UK sense is always of an alcoholic beverage, and I've never heard it used any other way. Without that distinction I don't see any point in having separate two definitions. 00:16, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I can confirm that in the UK it always refers to booze. Why is this term in category "en:Polari"? SemperBlotto 07:49, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Bad Boy as slang[កែប្រែ]

When did "Bad Boy' for something impressive enter the slang world?